Care for benign liver tumors or cysts

Specialists at Ascension Wisconsin deliver personalized care for non-cancerous liver tumors and cysts.

FOR PATIENTS: hepatobiliary clinic: 414-298-7133

If you’ve been diagnosed with a tumor or cyst, we’re here for you. A tumor is an abnormal mass caused by rapidly reproducing cells. A cyst is a sac that holds fluids or air. They can be cancerous or noncancerous and develop anywhere inside the body. At Ascension Wisconsin, our care team listens to you to understand your concerns. Then, we work with you to create a care plan that’s right for you.

We diagnose and treat many types of tumors and cysts, including:

  • Focal nodular hyperplasia
  • Liver adenomas
  • Liver hemangiomas
  • Simple and complex liver cysts
  • Other types of tumors and cysts

Diagnosing tumors in your liver

While most liver tumors, also known as adenomas, are not cancerous, some are at risk for bleeding or can become cancerous. By working with a team of specialists, we diagnose your tumor using an MRI or biopsy. The most common adenomas are:

  • Inflammatory adenomas - this is the most common type of liver tumor and may cause bleeding. It’s most common in adults with fatty liver disease. And, there is a low risk of turning into cancer.
  • Fatty adenomas - This type of liver tumor has a very low risk of bleeding and minimal risk of turning into cancer.
  • Beta catenin activation mutated adenomas - this type of tumor has a higher risk of turning into cancer.

Advanced liver tumor care in Wisconsin

By understanding what type of tumor you have, your care team creates a personalized care plan. Our care team includes liver specialists and surgeons. Some liver tumors only need to be monitored with regular imaging. Other tumors may need to be surgically removed to help prevent them from bleeding or becoming cancerous.

Care for liver hemangiomas

Specialists at Ascension Wisconsin also deliver care for liver hemangiomas — noncancerous groups of tangled blood vessels in the liver. Some hemangiomas can be associated with blood disorders and may bleed or clot. Symptoms may include pain, nausea, bloating and weight loss. Your doctor srts by listening to you, to better understand you and your symptoms. Some hemangiomas do not need any treatment. Depending on your symptoms and the size of your hemangioma, your doctor may recommend surgery or a procedure to stop the blood supply.

Diagnosing and treating focal nodular hyperplasia

Specialists at Ascension Wisconsin deliver care for adults with a focal nodular hyperplasia (FNH) — a liver mass made up of normal liver cells. FNHs typically do not turn into cancer. Based on the size and location of your FNH, your doctor may recommend monitors or surgery to remove the mass.While most people do not have any symptoms, others may experience pain, nausea, bloating, and weight loss.

Treating liver cysts — from simple to complex

Liver cysts are common in adults. Many people do not have symptoms of liver tumors, while other may have symptoms such as:

  • Pain
  • Bloating and heartburn
  • Fever and chills

Your doctor works with you to create a care plan that’s right for you. Most cysts do not need any treatment. Some cysts can become cancerous and may need to be surgically removed. Other cysts can be caused by polycystic liver disease and may need to be removed or need a liver transplant.

Treatment options include:

  • X-ray guided drainage of liver cysts
  • Surgical removal of cysts
  • Liver resection

Cancer clinical trials

Ascension Wisconsin cancer centers participate in ongoing clinical trials.

To learn more, call the Ascension Wisconsin Research Institute at 414-635-6420 or email

Learn more about cancer care at Ascension Wisconsin.