Liver surgery comprises various operations of the liver for different disorders.
The most common operation performed on the liver is a resection (removal of a portion of the liver). The most typical indication for liver resection is a malignant tumour. Tumours can be primary (developed in the liver) or metastatic (developed in another organ, then migrated to the liver). The majority of liver metastases come from the colon.
Liver resection patients are carefully evaluated by a multidisciplinary team to ensure the absence of the extrahepatic (outside the liver) tumour. Liver resections performed on patients with extrahepatic disease may relieve the symptoms caused by the tumour, but offer little improvement in survival.
Benign tumours of the liver (cyst, adenoma, haemangioma) can be successfully managed by liver resection as well. If the location of a benign tumour is superficial and small in size, the operation can be performed laparoscopically (by making small punctures in the abdomen while viewing through a video camera).
Liver resections are also performed on people willing to donate part of their liver to a loved one.
A liver resection takes approximately 3-5 hours and can be performed without the need for blood. Up to 75% of the liver tissue can be safely removed. The hospital stay is about 7 days and complete recovery occurs in 5-6 weeks. The resected liver regenerates to its preoperative size in 6-8 weeks. Excellent results from liver resections are usually achieved.