Liver Resection

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Appointments by referral only.

Liver resection is an operation that's performed to remove various types of liver tumors. The tumors may be cancerous or benign (non-cancerous).

The goal of liver resection is to completely remove the tumor and the area around the tumor without leaving any portion of the tumor behind. A larger part of your liver can be safely removed if the rest of your liver is healthy.

Who Needs Liver Surgery?

This surgery is performed on patients with liver cancer, such as hepatocellular cancer. It's also done in those with colon cancer that's spread to the liver and patients with liver cysts, adenomas or hemangiomas. At UVA, you'll be evaluated by our Gastrointestinal Surgery Group to determine if liver resection is the right option for you.

What to Expect

The operation is performed with general anesthesia and can take 2-5 hours. You'll stay in the hospital 3-7 days to recover. Your treatment team at UVA will work with you to make sure you return home with appropriate care instructions, including guidelines for physical activity and pain management.

When a portion of the liver is removed, the remaining liver can grow back (regenerate) if your liver is healthy. This growth occurs over 6-8 weeks. This regeneration doesn't occur for patients with cirrhosis of the liver or an otherwise unhealthy liver. Good nutrition with a high-protein diet is important for liver regeneration. Our nutritionists will talk to you and help you plan your diet.

Possible Complications

  • Liver failure
  • Abscess (infection around the surgery site)
  • Surgery site opens or becomes infected
  • Bleeding
  • Bile leakage
  • Blood clots
  • Pneumonia

Laparoscopic Procedures for Liver Surgery

At UVA, we also use minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery for some patients with liver tumors.

This advanced surgical technique uses a few smaller incisions instead of one large incision. Patients who have laparoscopic surgery have less pain, a shorter hospital stay and faster recovery than those who undergo traditional surgery.