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HPB Surgery
Volume 2012 (2012), Article ID 891787, 14 pages
Review Article

“Incidentaloma” of the Liver: Management of a Diagnostic and Therapeutic Dilemma

1Department of Visceral, Thoracic und Vascular Surgery, Clinic of Dachau, 85221 Dachau, Germany
2Department of Radiology, Clinic of Dachau, Krankenhausstrare 15, 85221 Dachau, Germany

Received 8 February 2012; Revised 20 April 2012; Accepted 5 May 2012

Academic Editor: Alfred Königsrainer

Copyright © 2012 Denis Ehrl et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


The continuous development of highly sensitive clinical imaging increased the detection of focal lesions of the liver. These accidentally detected liver tumors without liver-specific symptoms such as cholestasis have been named “incidentalomas.” Diagnostic tools such as sonography, computed tomography, or magnetic resonance imaging are used increasingly in asymptomatic individuals without defined suspected diagnoses in the setting of general prevention or followup after a history of malignancy. But despite continuous improvement of diagnostics, some doubt regarding the benign or malign behavior of a tumor remains. In case an asymptomatic hemangioma or FNH can be preoperatively detected with certainty, the indication for surgery must be very strict. In case of symptomatic liver lesions surgical resection should only be indicated with tumor-specific symptoms. In the remaining cases of benign lesions of the liver, a “watch and wait” strategy is recommended. In case of uncertain diagnosis, especially in patients with positive history of a malignant tumor or the suspected diagnosis of hepatocellular adenoma, surgical resection is indicated. Due to the continuous improvement of surgical techniques, liver resection should be done in the laparoscopic technique. Laparoscopic surgery has lower morbidity and shorter hospitalization than open technique.