Pronounced: heh-PA-tik ree-SEK-shun
Hepatic resection is most often used to treat cancer in the liver. It can also be done for the following reasons:
Liver Cancer Due to Liver Disease (Cirrhosis)
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Your doctor will review possible complications such as:
Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:
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.
Your 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, like:
General anesthesia 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 medication.
The usual length of stay is three to seven 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:
When you return home, do the following to help ensure a smooth recovery:
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.
American Cancer Society
American Liver Foundation
Canadian Cancer Society
Canadian Liver Foundation
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Treatment for secondary liver cancer. Macmillan Cancer Support website. Available at:
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Updated January 1, 2013. Accessed February 26, 2014.
van den Broek MA, Damink SM, Dejong CH, et al. Liver failure after partial hepatic resection: definition, pathophysiology, risk factors, and treatment. Liver Int. 2008;28(6):767-780.
Zakaria S, Donohue JH, Que FG, et al. Hepatic resection for colorectal metastases: value for risk scoring systems? Ann Surg. 2007;246 (2):183-191.
6/6/2011 DynaMed's Systematic Literature Surveillance
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Mills E, Eyawo O, Lockhart I, Kelly S, Wu P, Ebbert JO. Smoking cessation reduces postoperative complications: a systematic review and meta-analysis. Am J Med. 2011;124(2):144-154.e8.
Last reviewed February 2014 by Michael Woods, MD
Last Updated: 2/26/2014