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Clinical investigations from the RACP

Investigating asymptomatic solitary liver lesions

Andrew D Keegan

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Abstract

Although most patients found to have a single asymptomatic liver lesion will have a benign disease, the possibility of malignancy must be remembered and assessed. Careful consideration is needed to provide a timely diagnosis, weighing up the costs and risks of investigations against the likely pathology.

Key Points

  • Although most patients with a single asymptomatic liver lesion will have benign disease, the possibility of malignancy must be considered and assessed.
  • In many cases noninvasive imaging techniques can be used to investigate solitary liver lesions.
  • Invasive investigations, including angiography, biopsy and resection, may be needed to evaluate some asymptomatic liver lesions.
  • The appearance of a liver lesion in a patient with a history of malignancy is an ominous finding.
  • Solid or partially cystic mass lesions of the liver may be malignant and should be investigated further.

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