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Liver and intrahepatic bile ducts-nontumor

Developmental anomalies/cysts

Solitary cyst

Reviewers: Komal Arora, M.D. (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 23 April 2012, last major update April 2012
Copyright: (c) 2004-2012, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.


● Also called unilocular, simple or congenital cyst
● Not associated with cysts in other organs
● 80% occur in women
● Usually incidental finding; may be due to von Meyenburg complexes that separate from biliary tree and dilate
● 20x more common than cystadenomas; present in 14% of autopsies if looked for
● Complications are torsion, hemorrhage, rupture, compression of adjacent biliary tree
● Carcinoma rarely arises in these cysts (HPB Surg 1992;5:203)


● Excision, sclerotherapy, cyst fenestration

Gross description

● Single, unilocular cyst, usually subcapsular or in falciform ligament
● 2-40 cm with flat glistening lining
● Variable amounts of clear amber fluid (may contain blood, bile, mucus, pus)
● Usually separate from biliary tree

Micro description

● Lined by biliary-type epithelium (flat/cuboidal), occasionally ciliated (called foregut cyst) or squamous lined (epidermoid cyst)
● Epithelium rests on thin collagenous wall without spindle-cell stroma
● Degenerative changes include epithelial desquamation, multiloculation, calcification

End of Liver and intrahepatic bile ducts-nontumor > Developmental anomalies/cysts > Solitary cyst

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