Children's Hospital Colorado
Colorado Fetal Care Center

Fetal Abdominal Cysts

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What are fetal abdominal cysts?

An abdominal cyst is a fluid-filled sac that develops in the abdomen (belly). Fetal abdominal cysts develop before birth, and fetuses can have more than one type. Doctors describe fetal abdominal cysts according to where they start growing. Common types include:

  • Hepatic cysts grow in the liver.
  • Splenic cysts develop in the spleen.
  • Pancreatic cysts form in the pancreas, usually in the body (middle section) or tail (end section).
  • Duplication, or gastrointestinal, cysts form along the digestive tract anywhere from the throat to the intestines.
  • Choledochal cysts form in the bile ducts, which carry bile (a digestive fluid) from the liver to the gallbladder and small intestine.
  • Genitourinary cysts grow in the urinary tract, which includes the kidneys, ureters (tubes connecting each kidney to the bladder), the bladder and the urethra (tube that carries urine out of the body).
  • Mesenteric cysts form in the mesentery, a membrane that supports and supplies blood to the intestines.
  • Ovarian cysts develop in the ovary (a female reproductive organ).

What causes fetal abdominal cysts?

Fetal abdominal cysts usually result from a problem during development in the organ where they start growing.

Who gets fetal abdominal cysts?

Because fetal abdominal cysts occur in various sites, no accurate estimates are available for how often they occur.

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