Local hepatic tuberculosis, the cause of a painful hepatic mass: case report and review of the literature

Can J Surg. 1986 Nov;29(6):451-2.


Local hepatic tuberculosis is an unusual form of extrapulmonary tuberculosis. The authors describe the case of a 39-year-old woman with this disease who posed diagnostic difficulties. She presented with abdominal pain, minimal constitutional symptoms, hepatomegaly and radiologic findings of a focal hepatic lesion. Laparotomy was required for diagnosis. A literature review revealed that most individuals with local hepatic tuberculosis have fever, night sweats and weight loss. Hepatomegaly is often the only abnormal physical sign. Minimally elevated serum bilirubin and alkaline phosphatase levels are common. Ultrasonography and computerized tomography will demonstrate a lobulated, hypoechoic liver mass. Definitive diagnosis requires demonstration of acid-fast bacilli in biopsy material obtained by percutaneous techniques or at laparotomy. Cultures of the diseased liver are usually negative. Antituberculous drug therapy appears to be the preferred method of treatment.

Publication types

  • Case Reports

MeSH terms

  • Abdomen
  • Adult
  • Antitubercular Agents / therapeutic use
  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Laparotomy
  • Mycobacterium tuberculosis / isolation & purification
  • Pain / etiology
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Tuberculosis, Hepatic / diagnosis*
  • Tuberculosis, Hepatic / drug therapy
  • Tuberculosis, Hepatic / physiopathology
  • Ultrasonography


  • Antitubercular Agents