Occasionally during a computed tomography (CT) scan, a doctor will find calcium deposits on the liver. This condition is known as liver calcification or hepatic calcification. Calcification on the liver generally indicates calcium has formed in areas affected by past infection or injury, typically to protect the area from further damage. Calcium build-up may also be found during pregnancy on an ultrasound of a fetus.
A calcified liver may be indicative of liver lesions or tumors, although liver calification is not commonly associated with a serious disorder or underlying condition. If, during a scan of the liver, the only irregularity seen is the presence of liver calcification, this is generally not a major cause for concern. Occasionally, medications may also cause calcification in the liver if the body reacts negatively to a drug.
Liver calcification in a newborn may be caused by infection, which may occur in the womb or shortly after birth. Abdominal inflammation may cause calcific liver conditions in newborns due to a rupture of the bowel wall during childbirth. A drainage of fetal stool matter, also known as meconium, may be responsible for infection, leading to calcium build up in areas of the liver. Blood clots forming on the liver that damage surrounding tissue may also cause calcification.
Liver calcification may also be due to excessive alcohol consumption. This occurs when the liver attempts to heal itself from alcohol damage. As a result, an accumulation of calcium is deposited on the liver. In advanced and severe cases, calcification may occur in conjunction with cirrhosis.
Liver disorders may also cause calcification. Cysts or tumors within the liver are a major cause for this build-up. In a benign tumor, lesion, or cyst, there may be no symptoms. The calcification may be detected by ultrasound or CT scan. A biopsy can determine if these growths are cancerous. If benign, there may be no need for treatment and the situation may resolve over time.
A malignant tumor with liver calcification may require advanced or invasive treatment. Surgery to remove a mass or radiation therapy may be an option for calcification on the liver caused by a malignant tumor. A follow-up course of chemotherapy may also be prescribed.
When a newborn with liver calcification is found to have a liver tumor at birth, this is often a benign mass. Typically, the growth will require surgical removal. In most cases, the infant will require no further medical intervention.