Falciform ligament abscess secondary to a ruptured liver abscess in a child: a case report
Abdelhalim Mahmoudi1,&, Mohammed Rami1, Khalid Khattala1, Aziz El Madi1, Youssef Bouabdallah1
1Department of Pediatric Surgery, CHU Hassan II, Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, Fez, Morocco
Abdelhalim Mahmoudi, Department of Pediatric Surgery, CHU Hassan II, Faculty of Medicine and Pharmacy, Sidi Mohamed Ben Abdellah University, Fez, Morocco
Abscess of the liver ligaments is extremely rare, and abscess of the falciform ligament has been sporadically reported.
We report the case of a 3 years old male who presented with a three days history of right upper quadrant abdominal pain, fever and nausea. The ultrasound and computed tomography (CT) scan showed an abdominal wall abscess located anterior to the liver.
The patient underwent surgery. Abscess of the falciform ligament secondary to a ruptured liver abscess was found. Excision of the falciform ligament including the abscess was performed.
Although pathology of the falciform ligament is rare, it should be included in the differential diagnosis of acute abdomen.
Few cases of falciform ligament abscess have been reported. This implies that the pathology of falciform ligament abscess is poorly understood, and many surgeons may be unable to recognize it when encountered. We report a case of a pyogenic falciform ligament abscess secondary to a ruptured liver abscess.
Patient and observation
A 3-year-old male was admitted to the hospital with a three-day history
of right upper quadrant pain, fever, diarrhea and nausea. There
was no history of jaundice. There was no history of abdominal surgery
or abdominal trauma.
On physical examination, her body temperature was 38.2°C, pulse was 84 beats/min
and blood pressure was 110/70 mmHg. Abdominal examination revealed
a palpable epigastric mass that was slightly tender. There were
no signs of peritonitis.
Results of laboratory studies showed: white blood cell count 19,500/ml
with 75.0% polymorphonuclear leukocytes, c-reactive protein test (CRP) was 130 mg/dl. Liver
function and electrolytes were within normal ranges.
Abdominal radiography was unremarkable. An ultrasound examination revealed an
anechoic lesion measuring 5×4 cm in the left lobe of the liver. The biliary
ducts, gallbladder, pancreas and spleen were normal (Figure
1 A, Figure 1 B).
A provisional diagnosis of liver abscess was made. Subsequently
a CT scan revealed a mass measuring 4x3 cm, and arising from the
left lobe of the
liver with surrounding inflammatory changes and extension into
the overlying anterior abdominal wall (Figure
2) with a strongly enhanced margin of the mass and no enhancement of the inside of the mass. Surgical exploration confirmed an abscess
in the falciform ligament communicating with rupture of a liver abscess. The abdominal wall was clear. The abscess was drained
and cultures were obtained. The falciform ligament was resected. Intraoperative cultures
grew S. aureus (methicillin sensitive). Antibiotics were appropriately
manipulated, and he was kept on oral antibiotic therapy for 4 weeks. Echocardiography
revealed no evidence of valvular heart disease. The patient was discharged
on postoperative day 7.
Pathological examination revealed a fibrosis of the falciform ligament with abscess
formation, and presence of non-specific granulomatous tissue. The
post-operative course was uneventful.
The falciform ligament is the embryologic remnant of the ventral mesentery, and marks the separation of the most caudal part of the left lobe of the liver into medial and lateral segments. The ligament is composed of two mesothelial layers, within which lies the ligamentum teres hepatis (obliterated left umbilical vein), paraumbilical veins, muscular fibers, and a variable amount of adipose tissue .
Falciform ligament abscess is a rare clinical entity, with only a few reports noted in the literature .
Infections can extend from the liver, gallbladder [3, 4] and umbilicus . An infection of a cystic lesion of the falciform ligament has been reported as a cause of a falciform ligament abscess . As shown in this case, it is important to suspect a falciform ligament abscess in a patient with a right upper quadrant abscess and a prior history of abdominal infections.
The presence of right upper quadrant abdominal pain, epigastric tenderness, fever, leukocytosis, and a mass in the anterior abdomen should raise suspicion of falciform ligament abscess [2, 4, 7].
Ultrasound and computed tomography scans should be helpful in detecting the presence of an abscess. On computed tomography scanning, free air limited to the area surrounding the falciform ligament indicates the presence of an abscess .
Previous authors reported successful treatment of the falciform ligament abscess after excision of the ligament [5, 7, 8]. Therefore, when a falciform ligament abscess is suspected, surgical excision rather than percutaneous drainage should be considered for the initial treatment. Depending on surgeon's expertise, patient's condition, and severity and extent of disease either open or laparoscopic surgery may be performed.
Rupture abscess liver is considered the cause of the falciform ligament abscess presented here. Number of pediatric cases of pyogenic liver abscess is limited. It usually results from seeding of the liver by pathogenic bacteria via hematogenous route. The most common etiologic agent is Staphylococcus aureus, and most often, a solitary abscess is found such as our patient, if bacteria spread from an adjacent infected organ, the abscess is usually multiple and polymicrobial, with gram-negative enterics and anaerobes.
Infection of the falciform ligament is extremely rare, but it should be suspected in patient with abdominal complaints and imaging study may be useful to demonstrate abscess formation of the falciform ligament.
The authors declare no competing interests.
Abdelhalim Mahmoudi, Youssef Bouabdallah: diagnosed and performed the operation of the patient. The manuscript was prepared by Abdelhalim Mahmoudi under the supervision of Youssef Bouabdallah. All authors have read and agreed to the final version of this manuscript and have equally contributed to its content and to the management of the case.
Figure 1: A) CT scan showing abscess involving in the left lobe of liver with extension into the overlying anterior abdominal wall; B) the early phase of the contrast-enhanced CT scan revealed a strongly enhanced margin of the mass liver and no enhancement of the inside of the mass
Figure 2: operative photograph: falciform ligament abscess communicating with liver abscess
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