Background: The treatment of giant symptomatic haemangioma of the liver is still controversial. This retrospective study reviewed the results of surgical treatment.
Methods: Twenty-eight patients with symptomatic giant haemangioma of the liver were treated by liver resection (n = 24) or liver transplantation (n = 4). The median diameter of the haemangiomas was 11 (range 5-20) cm.
Results: Complications occurred in five of the 24 patients treated by partial liver resection, although all survived and remain alive and well more than 2 years after surgery. In six patients there was residual haemangioma in the liver remnant which did not enlarge during the 2-year follow-up. In four patients the haemangioma was considered irresectable and liver transplantation was performed. One died after a 'two-stage' liver transplantation; the remaining three patients are alive and well, 1, 4 and 9 years after transplantation.
Conclusion: Liver resection is the treatment of choice for giant haemangioma of the liver where possible. In selected cases liver transplantation is indicated.