Ablative Therapies | Chemotherapy | IMRT | Liver Transplant | Resection
If patients can withstand major surgery and have enough liver reserve, a resection is the best alternative. This may entail a hemi-hepatectomy or a segmental resection. However, patients with cirrhosis or severe liver disease may not be candidates for liver resection.
The most common operation performed on the liver is a resection (removal of a portion of the liver). The most typical indication for liver resection is a malignant tumor. Tumors can be primary (developed in the liver) or metastatic (developed in another organ, then migrated to the liver). The majority of liver metastases come from the colon. The single tumor or more than one tumor confined to either left or right side of the liver can be successfully resected with 5-year survival as high as 70%.
Liver resection patients are carefully evaluated by a multidisciplinary team to ensure the absence of the extrahepatic (outside the liver) tumor. Liver resections performed on patients with extrahepatic disease may relieve the symptoms caused by the tumor, but offer little improvement in survival.
Benign tumors of the liver (cyst, adenoma, hemangioma) can be successfully managed by liver resection as well.
If the location of the tumor is superficial and small in size, the operation can be performed laparoscopically (by making small punctures in the abdomen while viewing through a video camera).
A liver resection takes approximately 3-5 hours and can be performed without the need for blood transfusion. Up to 75% of the liver tissue can be safely removed. The hospital stay is about 5 days and complete recovery occurs in 5-6 weeks. The resected liver regenerates to its preoperative size in 6-8 weeks. Excellent results from liver resections are usually achieved.