Last reviewed by Editorial Team on August 13th, 2018.
What is Focal nodular hyperplasia?
This medical condition is a form of benign, non-cancerous, tumor that is found in your liver. This is a tumor that does not turn malignant. It will rarely grow big enough to cause any lasting problems. When a focal nodular hyperplasia is found they will conduct other screening to make sure that it is not a cancerous mass that has similar shape. This mass is called a hepatocellular carcinoma. Women, more than men, are normally affected by focal nodular hyperplasia but they are not sure why this happens. When diagnosed with focal nodular hyperplasia most are over the age of thirty. It is a common liver tumor. When this tumor is seen on a diagnostic test it is usually recognizable by the presence of a scar that is found along the center of the mass in sixty to seventy percent of the cases. There can be more than one area on your liver to have these tumor growths.
Normally when a person has focal nodular hyperplasia they do not experience any adverse symptoms
According to medical researchers, it has been determined this medical condition happens as the result of a hepatocyte. This is a proliferation of a specialized liver cell type that is abnormal. The irregular production of this type of liver cell is cause by a congenital defect in your blood vessels that feeds your liver. Because these liver cells lacked the normal nutrients that these blood vessels transported the liver cells grew in an unusual manner. They also produced blood vessels in a different arrangement. These abnormal hepatocytes are able to be distinguished from tissue that is healthy because they are usually a lighter color. Many times this abnormal liver development develops in the womb during pregnancy.
It is also thought that it could be due to clots in the tiny blood vessels in your liver or vascular accidents like hemorrhages. Because it is more commonly found in women it has been thought that estrogens may help promote the development of focal nodular hyperplasia.
Many times focal nodular hyperplasia is only discovered when a person is undergoing imaging tests for another medical problem. Usually the radiologist is screening the patient for internal injuries, cancer, or other medical conditions near the patient’s abdomen may notice this mass of abnormal liver cells. Once they see this mass they will usually do a tissue biopsy to make sure it is not cancerous and may perform additional screening tests. The best diagnostic imaging technique to us to diagnose focal nodular hyperplasia accurately is an MRI scan of your liver.
After the mass has been screened for cancer and it has been found to be benign it is left alone since they will usually stay the same size and not cause any symptoms. If it found that the patient is experiencing significant pain in the abdomen they may need to have surgery to give them relief from the pain. If there is a case where they are not able to determine if it is cancerous or not or any doubt that it could be malignant they may do surgery to get rid of the mass. You may also need radiation therapy. It is also important that you follow a healthy lifestyle and diet to help avoid excess inflammation of your liver. If you are overweight, you should follow a healthy low carbohydrate diet as having a fatty liver could cause focal nodular hyperplasia to become worse.