Hypervascular liver lesions

A.Prof Frank Gaillard et al.

Hypervascular liver lesions may be caused by primary liver pathology or metastatic disease.

Differential diagnosis

Primary lesions
  • hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC)
    • most common hypervascular primary liver malignancy
    • early arterial phase enhancement and then rapid wash out
    • rim enhancement of capsule may persist
  • haemangioma
    • benign; most common liver tumor overall
    • discontinuous, nodular, peripheral enhancement starting in arterial phase
    • gradual central filling in
    • enhancement must match blood pool in each phase, or not a hemangioma (i.e. similar to aorta in arterial, portal vein in portal phase, etc)
    • small haemangiomas (<1.5 cm) may demonstrate "flash filling" - complete homogenous enhancement in arterial phase (no gradual filling in)
  • focal nodular hyperplasia (FNH)
    • bright arterial phase enhancement except central scar
    • isodense/isointense to liver on portal venous phase
    • central scar enhancement on delayed phase
  • hepatic adenoma
    • arterial phase: transient homogenous enhancement
    • returns to near isodensity on portal venous and delayed phase image
  • primary hepatic carcinoid

Although the majority of liver metastases are hypodense and enhance less than the surrounding liver, metastases from certain primaries demonstrate an increase in the number of vessels, resulting in a hyperechoic ultrasound appearance, and arterial phase hyperenhancement on CT or MRI which washes out on delayed scan (cf. hemangioma which does not show wash out). The primaries typically include:

Other secondary lesions

See also

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Article information

rID: 1480
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • Hypervascular hepatic lesions

Cases and figures

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    Liver metastases ...
    Case 1: metastasis from lung cancer
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    Case 2: hepatocellular carcinoma
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    Case 3: hepatic carcinoid
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    Case 4: FNH - embolisation
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    Case 5: FNH - embolisation
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    Case 6: focal nodular hyperplasia
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