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:
Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. The doctor will review potential problems, like:
Factors that may increase the chance of complications:
Long-term side effects are uncommon. This is because the liver is able to regrow and function normally within a few months. However, this regrowth can happen more slowly in older people.
The doctor may do some of the following:
Talk to your doctor about your medications. You may be asked to stop taking some medications up to one week before the procedure.
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 will prevent pain during surgery. Pain and discomfort after the procedure can be managed with medications.
The usual length of stay is 3-7 days. The doctor may choose to keep you longer if there are complications.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chance of infection, such as:
Recovery takes up to 6 weeks. Your doctor may advise pain medications for discomfort. Your activity will be restricted while you recover. Follow instructions on wound care to prevent infection.
Contact your doctor if your recovery is not progressing as expected or you develop complications, such as:
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
American Cancer Society
American Liver Foundation
Canadian Cancer Society
Canadian Liver Foundation
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Last reviewed March 2016 by James Cornell, MD
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