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Definition  

Hepatic resection is surgery to remove a portion of the liver.

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Liver Cancer Due to Liver Disease (Cirrhosis)  
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Reasons for Procedure  

Hepatic resection is most often used to treat cancer in the liver. It can also be done for the following reasons:

  • Treat other tumors in the liver (including benign [non-cancerous] lesions)
  • Treat cancer that has spread to the liver (most often seen in patients with colon cancer )
  • Liver transplant donation
  • Treat trauma to the liver
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Possible Complications  

Your doctor will review possible complications such as:

  • Excess bleeding
  • Reaction to anesthesia
  • Infection
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Low blood sugar
  • Liver failure

Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:

Long-term side effects are uncommon. This is because the liver is able to regrow and function normally within a few months. But, this can happen more slowly in older patients.

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What to Expect  

Prior to Procedure  

Your doctor may do some of the following:

  • Physical exam
  • Blood tests
  • Liver function tests
  • You may be given chemotherapy to shrink liver tumors.
  • You may meet with a doctor who specializes in liver surgery.
  • Your doctor may do tests to determine the exact location of the tumors:
    • Abdominal ultrasound —a test that uses sound waves to make an image in the abdomen
    • CT scan —a type of x-ray that uses a computer to make pictures of structures in the abdomen
    • PET scan —a test that uses a small amount of radiation to locate areas in the body with abnormal metabolic activity, such as cancers
    • MRI scan —a test that uses magnetic waves to make picture of structures in the abdomen

Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure, like:

  • Anti-inflammatory drugs
  • Blood thinners
  • Antiplatelets

Anesthesia  

General anesthesia will be used. It will block any pain and keep you asleep through the surgery.

Description of the Procedure  

The doctor will make an incision in the right upper abdomen, under the rib cage. The doctor will remove any tumors on the liver and some of the surrounding healthy tissue. Sometimes, the gallbladder will also need to be removed. The doctor may use an ultrasound probe to examine the liver during surgery to make sure there are no remaining tumors. Your doctor may leave a drain going from inside your abdomen to outside your body. This will drain any blood or leakage from the liver. The doctor will close your incision with stitches or staples.

Immediately After Procedure  

You will be taken to the intensive care unit for about 24 hours. The hospital staff will monitor you.

How Long Will It Take?  

3-7 hours

How Much Will It Hurt?