Introduction: Benign tumors of the liver are increasingly being diagnosed and continue to represent a management challenge. These lesions constitute a substantial component of hepatic neoplasms evaluated and resected at a tertiary referral center. We reviewed our experience with resection of benign liver lesions to clarify the safety and effectiveness of this treatment.
Methods: Between January 1996 and January 2000, 28 patients with benign hepatic lesions were identified from a cohort of 140 hepatic resection patients. Demographic characteristics, operative management, morbidity, mortality and follow-up were retrospectively analyzed.
Results: The mean age in our patients was 35 +/- 14, with 24/28 (86%) patients being female. Seven of the 24 woman (29%) at presentation were either pregnant or immediate postpartum. A history of OCP use was noted in 14/24 (58%) female patients. The most common presenting symptom was abdominal pain in 12/28 (43%). Resection for an undiagnosed mass occurred in 11/28 (39%) patients. The distribution of pathology was hemangioma 10/28 (35.7%), adenoma 8/28 (28.6%), hepatic cyst 5/28 (17.9%), hamartoma 2/28 (7.1%), and FNH 3/28 (10.7%). Average size of the tumor was 7.4 +/- 3.9 (range 2.5-15 cm) with a mean of 1.4 +/- 0.8 lesions (range 1-3) per patient. Tumors were evenly distributed between the right and left side while eight patients (29%) had bilobar tumors. Enucleation rather than anatomic resection was performed in 18/28 (64%) patients, with a mean blood loss of 457 +/- 532 cc (range 50-2200 cc). Blood transfusion was required in only 3/28 (10%) patients, while total vascular isolation was used in only a single patient undergoing an extended left hepatectomy. Mean length of stay was 6.8 +/- 3.2 d (range 3-14 d). Three complications (10.7%) were encountered: pulmonary embolus, ileus and non-operative bile leak. There were no mortalities in this series. Recurrence of tumor occurred in only one patient with a giant hepatic cyst managed laparoscopically.
Conclusions: In our institution, the management of clinically relevant benign tumors of the liver comprises a significant proportion of our resectional practice (20%). Our data suggests that both enucleation and anatomically based resections can be performed safely with minimal blood loss and transfusion requirements. Resection of symptomatic lesions was highly effective in treating abdominal pain due to these benign tumors. We advocate resection of non-resolving hepatic adenomas, symptomatic lesions, or when malignancy cannot be excluded.