Focal nodular hyperplasia of the liver: results of treatment and options in management.
Twenty two patients (19 females) with focal nodular hyperplasia were seen between 1973 and 1989. Five were children, and all the adults were aged under 42 years (median 33 years). Fourteen patients (64%) were symptomatic on presentation. Twelve of the 14 adult women had taken the oral contraceptive pill. Twelve patients, nine of whom were symptomatic, underwent hepatic resection shortly after presentation. There were no deaths or major complications, and all remain well on follow up. Four patients underwent either hepatic artery embolisation or ligation. After an interval of six to 10 years they were asymptomatic and only one has histological evidence of residual focal nodular hyperplasia. Of five patients initially treated conservatively, two were asymptomatic and have remained so for three and 13 years. One of the three symptomatic patients became symptom free after stopping the contraceptive pill. The management of focal nodular hyperplasia requires a flexible approach. Lesions which are asymptomatic can be observed with regular ultrasound and treated if they enlarge or become symptomatic. Symptomatic patients who present while taking the contraceptive pill can also have a trial of conservative treatment. Other symptomatic patients, including those who previously took the pill, are best treated by surgical resection, and, where this is not possible, by embolisation.