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Open Access Highly Accessed Research article

Diagnostic problems with parasitic and non-parasitic splenic cysts

Gokhan Adas1, Oguzhan Karatepe1*, Merih Altiok1, Muharrem Battal1, Omer Bender1, Deniz Ozcan2 and Servet Karahan1

Author Affiliations

1 Okmeydani Training and Research Hospital, Department of General Surgery, Istanbul, Turkey

2 Okmeydani Training and Research Hospital, Department of Pathology, Istanbul, Turkey

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BMC Surgery 2009, 9:9  doi:10.1186/1471-2482-9-9

Published: 29 May 2009



The splenic cysts constitute a very rare clinical entity. They may occur secondary to trauma or even being more seldom due to parasitic infestations, mainly caused by ecchinocccus granulosus. Literature lacks a defined concencus including the treatment plans and follow up strategies, nor long term results of the patients. In the current study, we aimed to evaluate the diagnosis, management of patients with parasitic and non-parasitic splenic cysts together with their long term follow up progresses.


Twenty-four patients with splenic cysts have undergone surgery in our department over the last 9 years. Data from eighteen of the twenty-four patients were collected prospectively, while data from six were retrospectively collected. All patients were assessed in terms of age, gender, hospital stay, preoperative diagnosis, additional disease, serology, ultrasonography, computed tomography (CT), cyst recurrences and treatment.


In this study, the majority of patients presented with abdominal discomfort and palpable swelling in the left hypochondrium. All patients were operated on electively. The patients included 14 female and 10 male patients, with a mean age of 44.77 years (range 20–62). Splenic hydatid cysts were present in 16 patients, one of whom also had liver hydatid cysts (6.25%). Four other patients were operated on for a simple cyst (16%) two patients for an epithelial cyst, and the last two for splenic lymphangioma. Of the 16 patients diagnosed as having splenic hydatit cysts, 11 (68.7%) were correctly diagnosed. Only two of these patients were administered benzimidazole therapy pre-operatively because of the risk of multicystic disease The mean follow-up period was 64 months (6–108). There were no recurrences of splenic cysts.


Surgeons should keep in mind the possibility of a parasitic cyst when no definitive alternative diagnosis can be made. In the treatment of splenic hydatidosis, benzimidazole therapy is not necessary, although it is crucial to perform splenectomy without rupturing and spilling the cysts.