, Volume 17, Issue 6, pp 1544-1554
Date: 27 Jan 2007

Liver haemangioma: common and uncommon findings and how to improve the differential diagnosis

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Haemangiomas are common focal liver lesions, generally detected in the work-up of asymptomatic patients. From the pathological point of view, they can be classified as small (capillary) or large, with cavernous vascular spaces that may show thrombosis, calcifications and hyalinisation. The polymorphic imaging appearance of haemangiomas depends on their histological features and flow pattern. The widespread use of cross-sectional imaging has allowed an increased detection rate and a better characterisation of this benign tumour. Recent developments of ultrasound (US), computed tomography (CT) and magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) providing high spatial and temporal resolution, together with the use of new contrast agents and/or pulse sequences has broadened the spectrum of imaging findings, contributing to diagnostic refinement in difficult cases. The scope of the present article is to provide an overview of the range of appearances of haemangiomas, explored with recent cross-sectional imaging modalities, emphasising its atypical findings as explored by temporally resolved contrast-enhanced imaging.