Liver & intrahepatic bile ducts

Benign / nonneoplastic

Fatty change

Topic Completed: 1 February 2012

Minor changes: 17 March 2021

Copyright: 2002-2021,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Fatty change[TI] liver

Deepali Jain, M.D.
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Cite this page: Jain D. Fatty change. website. Accessed December 8th, 2021.
Definition / general
Clinical features
  • Rare, often incidental finding at autopsy or misinterpreted on imaging as neoplastic growth
  • Ill defined, single or multiple
  • Simulates lipomatous tumor or malignancy (Przegl Lek 2006;63:695)
  • Associated with obesity, diabetes, alcohol abuse, dyslipidemia, malnutrition, steroids, chemotherapeutic agents, AIDS
  • Hepatic enzymes may be normal or mildly abnormal
  • Stable or regresses if underlying condition improves
  • Unknown cause; may be due to focal tissue hypoxia or local effects of insulin (Pathol Int 2008;58:59)
  • Treatment directed against underlying disorder
Case reports
Gross description
  • Subcapsular, unencapsulate, yellow white foci, often multiple, up to 10 cm
Gross images

Case #141

Various images

Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Diffuse or focal steatosis adjacent to unremarkable liver, no compression of perinodular liver tissue
  • Prominent blood vessels within and at the margin of the nodule
  • May have foreign body type granulomatous inflammation
Microscopic (histologic) images

Case #141

Various images

Differential diagnosis
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