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Liver Resection

Surgery Overview

Liver resection is surgery to remove a piece of the liver. Up to one-half of your liver can be removed if the rest of it is healthy. The doctor makes a cut (incision) in your belly to take out part of the liver. If the doctor removes the right side of your liver, your gallbladder will also be removed.

Liver resection requires general anesthesia. The surgery can take 2 to 5 hours.

You will probably stay in the hospital for 5 to 14 days after surgery. You will need to take it easy for 4 to 8 weeks at home.

What To Expect

Follow-up care is needed because of the chance that colorectal cancer will return, even if the surgery was successful. Treatment after liver resection may include chemotherapy or radiation treatments.

Why It Is Done

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 can't remove all the cancer from the liver, it usually helps people live longer.

How Well It Works

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).footnote 1

Risks

Possible complications after a liver resection include:

  • Infection.
  • Bleeding.
  • Scar tissue from the surgery.

References

Citations

  1. National Cancer Institute (2012). Colon Cancer Treatment (PDQ)—Health Professional Version. Available online: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/pdq/treatment/colon/healthprofessional/allpages.

Credits

Current as of: July 26, 2023

Author: Healthwise Staff
Clinical Review Board
All Healthwise education is reviewed by a team that includes physicians, nurses, advanced practitioners, registered dieticians, and other healthcare professionals.

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