Symptomatic congenital cysts of the liver, whether solitary or multiple in appearance, can be treated by a laparoscopic approach. Here we present our single centre experience encompassing a rather large cohort of patients. From our prospective surgical database, introduced for quality management and surveillance, we identified 34 consecutive patients who were operated on for congenital liver cysts between 1995 and 2004. Using a questionnaire, the patients were contacted to assess actual complaints, the recurrence of operated cysts or the frequency of newly developed cysts. During follow-up two patients had died of other diseases. Of the remaining 32 patients 30 answered the questionnaire (94 %). The median postoperative follow-up was 55 months (range: 8-121). There were 29 women and 5 men with solitary (n = 10) or multiple (n = 20) liver cysts and polycystic liver disease (n = 4), all complained of unspecific upper abdominal pain. Due to previous operations or coexisting diseases open laparotomy was performed in 7 patients and laparoscopic unroofing was performed in 27 patients. The conversion rate to open laparotomy was 7 % (n = 2). Solitary cysts were unroofed in 25 patients and multiple cysts in 8 patients. The resected cysts had a median diameter of 10.5 cm (solitary cysts: 7-19 cm, multiple cysts: 4-23 cm). The only postoperative complications were 3 cases of bilioma (8.9 %), which required open revision in one case. There were no cysts recurrences, but persisting upper gastrointestinal pain, backache or problems arising from the scars were reported by 9 patients (30 %). In cases of symptomatic congenital liver cysts laparoscopic unroofing should be considered the treatment of choice.

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