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Partial hepatectomy for liver cancer

What is a partial hepatectomy?

A liver resection, or partial hepatectomy, is a surgical procedure to remove tumors in the liver. Removing the cancerous portion of the liver may help to prevent the disease from spreading more.

To perform a liver resection surgery, our surgeons make an incision below the ribcage, across the right side of the upper abdomen. An ultrasound device is used to find the liver tumor(s). The diseased portion of the liver is then removed, along with some adjoining healthy liver tissue.

Partial hepatectomy for liver cancer

A partial hepatectomy can be done as either a traditional, open surgical procedure or as a less invasive, laparoscopic procedure.

Patients who undergo laparoscopic liver resection tend to:

  • Experience less pain
  • Have a shorter stay in the hospital
  • Recover more quickly
  • Resume other treatments (e.g., chemotherapy) more quickly because they recover from surgery in less time than with open surgery
  • Have less scarring/better cosmetic appearance where incisions are made

To determine if liver resection surgery is possible, several factors are considered, including:

  • The extent of the disease in the liver: If multiple liver tumors, large liver tumors and tumors in multiple lobes of the liver are present, they may not be able to be surgically removed.
  • The extent of the surgery needed: A significant enough portion of the liver that is healthy must remain in order for it to function properly.
  • Tumors near blood vessels in the liver: Liver tumors near blood vessels may be inoperable. Other treatments such as intra-arterial chemotherapy or chemoembolization may be more appropriate options.
  • Cirrhosis: Patients who have cirrhosis typically do not tolerate liver resection.
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