Liver resection is the surgical removal of part of the
liver. This operation is for some types of livercancer and for certain cases of
metastatic colorectal cancer. Up to half of your liver
can be removed as long as the rest is healthy.
During a liver resection, the part of your liver that contains
cancer is removed, along with some healthy liver tissue on either side. If the
right side of your liver is removed, your
gallbladder, which is attached to the liver, is also
Liver resection requires
general anesthesia. The operation can take 2 to 5
blood transfusion is not usually needed for this
operation. You may stay in the hospital for 5 to 7 days or as long as 2 weeks
Follow-up care is needed because of the possibility that colorectal
cancer will return, even if the surgery was successful. Treatment following
liver resection may include
Why It Is Done
Liver resection is used to treat colorectal cancer that has spread
to the liver. Removing the cancer from the liver helps to keep it from
spreading farther. Sometimes all the cancer in the liver can be removed with this surgery. But even when this surgery cannot remove all the cancer from the liver, it usually helps people live longer.
How Well It Works
Liver resection successfully removes areas of metastatic colorectal
cancer from the liver. Over half of people who have this surgery are still alive after 5 years (the 5-year survival rate).1
Possible complications after a liver resection include:
from the surgery.
What To Think About
A liver resection may not be a good choice if you have areas of metastatic
colorectal cancer in both lobes of your liver or if you have metastatic disease
in other parts of your body.
Chemotherapy and radiation therapy may be needed after a liver
resection. Sometimes chemotherapy may be given before surgery to shrink a tumor in the liver. If it becomes small enough, it can be removed with surgery.
National Comprehensive Cancer Network (2010). Colon cancer. NCCN Clinical Practice Guidelines in Oncology, version 2. Available online: http://www.nccn.org/professionals/physician_gls/f_guidelines.asp#site.
Primary Medical Reviewer
Kathleen Romito, MD - Family Medicine
Specialist Medical Reviewer
Arvydas D. Vanagunas, MD - Gastroenterology
September 13, 2010
WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise
September 13, 2010
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