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Surgery. 1995 Mar;117(3):272-5.

Surgery for adult polycystic liver disease.

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Clinique de Chirurgie digestive, Hôpital Cantonal Universitaire, Geneva, Switzerland.



Occasionally patients with adult polycystic liver disease (APLD) have symptoms. For these patients surgery may represent a valuable therapeutic option to relieve symptoms.


From September 1977 to August 1993 at our institution, 10 women with APLD were examined and surgically treated. They underwent a partial hepatic resection together with cyst fenestration. The surgical outcome and long-term follow-up were retrospectively analyzed.


Postoperative morbidity consisted of one case of pneumonia, and one case of acute pancreatitis with deep vein leg thrombosis. One patient died after acute Budd-Chiari syndrome developed as a result of liver collapse after fenestration of a posterior cyst. In the long term six of nine patients were symptom free. Late surgical complications included acute cholecystitis (one patient), small bowel obstruction (one), and incisional hernia (two).


A combined surgical approach of hepatic resection and cyst fenestration has proved feasible for patients with highly symptomatic APLD. Extensive fenestration of posterior cysts should be avoided; transverse hepatic resection (frontal hepatectomy) up to the costal margin is proposed. This therapy provides good results at long-term follow-up.

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