One of the body’s largest organs, the liver, is located on the right side, under the ribcage. When blood exits the stomach and intestines, it goes through the liver, where it is cleansed, removing toxins that are a byproduct of normal functions, like breaking down proteins, processing the vitamins and minerals from food into a form your body can use, and breaking down harmful substances and clearing them out of your system. Another function of the liver is to produce bile, which helps the body absorb fat and remove waste. The liver also converts sugar into a usable form to produce energy for your body, helps with blood clotting and more.
Liver surgery, or resection is the surgical removal of a part of the liver or the whole organ. Liver ultrasound biopsy and liver microwave ablation are procedures that use image guidance to help diagnose, manage and treat liver disorders.
Liver ultrasound and biopsy is a procedure that obtains image guided direct biopsy of possible malignant liver lesions. During the procedure, a small piece of liver tissue is removed so it can be examined for disease or damage. It is used to help diagnose and plan treatment, assisting with determining the severity of the liver disease for the process called staging. A liver biopsy may also be used to determine how well the treatment of the disease is working. A liver biopsy is a safe procedure when performed by an experienced physician. Possible risks may include pain or bleeding at the biopsy site.
Liver microwave ablation (MWA) is a surgical procedure to ablate or destroy inoperable liver tumors. The procedure uses intense heat around the inserted needle to destroy liver cancer cells in a minimally invasive way. Ultrasound, computed tomography (CT) or magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) may be used to guide the needle into the tumor. The destroyed cells are gradually replaced by scar tissue over time.
Results from the procedure help determine any further steps to be taken in the treatment of liver tumors. The procedure can be combined with additional therapies such as chemotherapy, radiation or resection to increase treatment options.
Liver resection is done to remove liver tumors when cancer hasn’t spread and tumors are limited to one specific area of the liver. The liver must be healthy enough to function normally after surgery. Within as little as two to three weeks post surgery, the liver may be able to regenerate to restore normal function. This surgery can be done in two ways, either with laparoscopic/robotic surgery or open surgery. Laparoscopic/robotic procedures are performed through small incisions in the abdomen and involve less pain and a quicker recovery. However, for larger tumors or tumors deep in the liver, open surgery is required. Length of the surgery depends on how many tumors are being treated, but most take between two and four hours.
After liver surgery, the typical hospital stay may be five to seven days. Full recovery may take six weeks or more. Prior to surgery, an imaging test is done (either CT or MRI) to plan the surgery. After surgery, you will have a drainage tube in your abdomen, a catheter to drain urine from your bladder and IV or epidural pain medication. You won’t be able to eat solid food right after surgery, but you will be transitioned back into your regular diet. As you recover, it’s important go get out of bed and move around. When you are discharged, it’s important to manage your pain and care for your incision. Your doctor will provide you with specific directions about what to do.
Conditions that may relate to liver surgery:
- Hepatitis B and C
- Alcoholic liver disease
- Nonalcoholic fatty liver disease
- Diseases that affect the bile ducts including bile duct cancer
- Liver cancer or hepatocellular carcinoma
- Liver metastases (from colorectal, gynecological or other origin)
- Benign liver tumors (adenoma, cyst, abscess)
At Center for Advanced Surgical Oncology, we treat the entire spectrum of cancers and cancer related disorders. Our experienced team of caring health professionals offers advanced surgical treatment options. Dealing with cancer can be difficult, but at Center for Advanced Surgical Oncology, we are here for you every step of the way.