Liver resection is the removal of a portion of the liver. It is the most common operation performed on the liver.
The most typical indication for liver resection is a malignant tumor. Tumors 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) tumor.
Benign tumors of the liver (cyst, adenoma, hemangioma) can be successfully managed by liver resection as well. If the location of a benign tumor 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 (see liver transplant).
A liver resection takes approximately three to five hours and can be performed without the need for blood transfusion. Up to 75 percent of the liver tissue can be safely removed. The hospital stay is about five days, and complete recovery occurs in five to six weeks. The resected liver regenerates to its preoperative size in six to eight weeks. Excellent results from liver resections are usually achieved.