Biliary hamartomas: Solitary and multiple lesions shown on current MR techniques including gadolinium enhancement

Richard C. Semelka, Shahid M. Hussain, Hani B. Marcos, John T. Woosley

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

87 Scopus citations


The purpose of this study was to describe the magnetic resonance (MR) imaging features of biliary hamartomas on T1- and T2-weighted and gadolinium- enhanced sequences, and to correlate these findings with histopathology. MR imaging findings in four patients with pathologically proved biliary hamartomas are described. In all patients, MR imaging sequences, including T1- and T2-weighted and early and late gadolinium-enhanced images, were retrospectively evaluated for the size, morphology, signal intensity, and enhancement pattern of the lesions. Correlation was made between the MR imaging findings and histopathology. Biliary hamartomas ranged in diameter from 0.5 to 1.5 cm. Lesions were solitary in one patient and numerous in three patients. In all patients, the lesions were low signal on T1-weighted images and high signal and well-defined on T2-weighted images and demonstrated thin rim enhancement on early post-gadolinium images that persisted on late post-gadolinium images. No appreciable central enhancement of the lesions was observed. At histopathology, the lesions were composed of cystic spaces and fibrous stroma. Lesions showed compressed liver parenchyma surrounding the lesions (three cases) and inflammatory cell infiltrate (one case), which correlated with the rim enhancement on the gadolinium-enhanced MR images. Most of the biliary hamartomas in our small series were less than 1 cm in diameter and of high signal intensity on T2-weighted images, and had a thin rim of enhancement on early and late post-gadolinium images. The imaging features were explainable by the underlying histopathology. In patients with known malignancy, caution should be exercised not to misinterpret these lesions as metastases due to the presence of thin rim enhancement.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)196-201
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Magnetic Resonance Imaging
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1999
Externally publishedYes


  • Liver, MR imaging
  • Liver, MR-pathology correlation
  • Liver, biliary hamartomas
  • Liver, enhancement patterns
  • Liver, focal disease
  • Liver, gadolinium

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Radiology Nuclear Medicine and imaging


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