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PubMed Health. A service of the National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health.

A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia [Internet]. Atlanta (GA): A.D.A.M.; 2013.

A.D.A.M. Medical Encyclopedia.

Benign

Last reviewed: January 13, 2013.

"Benign" refers to a condition, tumor, or growth that is not cancerous. This means that it does not spread to other parts of the body. It does not change or destroy nearby tissue. Sometimes, a condition is called benign to suggest it is not dangerous or serious.

In general, a benign tumor grows slowly and is not harmful. However, this is not always the case.

A benign tumor may grow big enough or be found near blood vessels, the brain, nerves, or organs. As a result, it can cause problems without spreading to another part of the body. Sometimes, these problems can be serious. 

The opposite of benign is malignant.

Review Date: 1/13/2013.

Reviewed by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc., Editorial Team: David Zieve, MD, MHA, David R. Eltz, Stephanie Slon, and Nissi Wang.

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  • No evidence to support or refute elective surgery for benign liver tumoursNo evidence to support or refute elective surgery for benign liver tumours
    The most common benign liver tumours include cavernous haemangioma, focal nodular hyperplasia, and hepatic adenoma. The majority of patients are asymptomatic, and no treatment is indicated. The natural history of haemangioma and focal nodular hyperplasia is typically uneventful whereas that of hepatic adenoma can be complicated by life‐threatening conditions, such as rupture and haemorrhage. For these complications or when a definite histologic diagnosis is needed, surgery is advisable. However, in clinical practice there is a wide variation concerning the use of elective surgery (ie, surgery performed before complications have developed). No randomised clinical trials were identified for this systematic review, but 31 case series without a proper control group were retrieved. Accordingly, there is no evidence to support or refute elective surgery for benign liver tumours.
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  • Benign tumor of the skin.

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