Sarah J. Kerr, BA
Hepatic resection is surgery to remove a portion of the liver.
Hepatic resection is most often used to treat cancer in the liver. It can also be done for the following reasons:
If you are planning to have a hepatic resection, your doctor will review a list of possible complications, which may include:
Factors that may increase the risk of complications include:
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.
Discuss these risks with your doctor before surgery.
Talk to your doctor about your medicines, herbs, and dietary supplements. You may be asked to stop taking some medicines up to one week before the procedure, like:
will be used. It will block any pain and keep you asleep through the surgery.
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.
You will be taken to the intensive care unit for about 24 hours. The hospital staff will monitor you.
Anesthesia prevents pain during surgery. Pain or soreness during recovery will be managed with pain medicine.
This procedure is done in a hospital setting. The usual length of stay is 4-8 days. If you have any problems, you will need to stay longer.
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
After you leave the hospital, contact your doctor if any of the following occurs:
In case of an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Cancer Society
American Liver Foundation
Canadian Cancer Society
Canadian Liver Foundation
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Last reviewed March 2013 by Marcin Chwistek, MD
Please be aware that this information is provided to supplement the care provided by your physician. It is neither intended nor implied to be a substitute for professional medical advice. CALL YOUR HEALTHCARE PROVIDER IMMEDIATELY IF YOU THINK YOU MAY HAVE A MEDICAL EMERGENCY. Always seek the advice of your physician or other qualified health provider prior to starting any new treatment or with any questions you may have regarding a medical condition.
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