Benign liver lesion

Also known as: benign liver tumour 


Benign liver lesions are abnormal growths or structures found in the liver. They usually don’t affect your health in the short term, but you should have regular scans in case they become cancerous in future.

What is a benign liver lesion?

A benign liver lesion (tumour) is a growth of cells or tissue that looks different to the areas surrounding it in the liver. Lesions are often found by chance when a person’s belly is scanned for unrelated reasons. 

Although benign lesions don’t pose a serious health risk, it’s important that doctors find and diagnose them, because some liver lesions do become cancerous. 

What types of benign liver lesions are there?

There are many different types of benign liver lesions. Common ones include: 

Liver cyst 

A bag-like structure filled with fluid that forms in the liver.


The most common form of benign liver lesion, which is a mass of abnormal blood vessels. 

Focal nodular hyperplasia (FNH) 

The second most common type of lesion, and they mainly occur in women aged between 20 and 30.

Hepatic adenoma 

An extremely rare benign liver tumour that’s also known as a hepatocellular adenoma or liver cell adenoma.

What are the symptoms of a benign liver lesion?

Usually, lesions in the liver do not cause any symptoms. 

However, if they’re very large or close to the surface of the liver, they may cause you:

  • Pain or discomfort over the liver area (right upper part of your belly) 
  • A feeling of fullness or swelling 
  • Difficulties with eating normal-sized meals

How is a benign liver lesion diagnosed?

Liver tumours are usually found by chance when your belly is scanned for another reason. 

Often, this scan is an ultrasound. This type of scan is good for spotting how many lesions there are and how big they are. However, an ultrasound may not be enough to find out what type of lesion has been found. 

An MRI scanner is usually used to do this, although sometimes a CT scanner may be used as well. 

If you have an MRI or CT scan, you may be injected with a special substance (contrast agent) that helps your consultant see any lesions in your liver more clearly. 

At The London Clinic, your scans will be looked at by world-class radiologists specialising in liver disease. They will then diagnose the type of lesion you have.

Rarely, a biopsy of a liver lesion is needed as well. This involves a fine needle being inserted into your liver to remove a small sample of tissue.

How is a benign liver lesion treated?

Many types of benign liver lesions, such as simple liver cysts or haemangiomas, require no treatment or monitoring, unless they’re causing symptoms. 

Other types, such as a hepatic adenoma, may need to be scanned regularly to check they’re not growing or changing. Rarely, the best course of action is for a lesion to be removed, which typically involves surgery.

At The London Clinic, your expert liver specialist will fully assess your liver lesions and discuss with you the best way to manage them. 

They may also be able to provide a second opinion on scans performed at a different hospital, if this is what’s required.


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