Liver resection is the surgical removal of part of the
liver. This operation is for some types of liver
cancer 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
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.
Liver resection increases a person's chances of living longer. About 25% to 40% of people (25 to 40 out of 100 people) who have this surgery are still alive after 5 years (5-year survival rate).1
Possible complications after a liver resection include:
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.
Complete the surgery information form (PDF)(What is a PDF document?) to help you prepare for this surgery.
National Cancer Institute (2012). Colon Cancer Treatment (PDQ)— Health Professional Version. Available online: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/colon/healthprofessional/allpages.
September 5, 2012
E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
& Kenneth Bark, MD - Surgery, Colon and Rectal
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