Resection involves the partial or total removal of an organ. For individuals diagnosed with liver cancer, this treatment option offers the best chance for long-term survival or cure. Removing a tumor is the surest method of eliminating the cancer – and preventing its spread to other parts of the body. Fortunately, the liver's remarkable regenerative ability allows it to continue functioning even when parts of it are removed.
In assessing someone for liver resection, Jefferson physicians often use CT scans to examine the number, size and location of the liver tumors, as well as to exclude the spread of cancer to other parts of the body.
There are now several surgical options depending upon your specific condition. Your team of Jefferson physicians will determine if you're eligible for any of these types of surgeries based on the tumor size and location.
Robotic Liver Resection
Breakthrough advances in technology now allow surgeons to perform complex surgical procedures using the da Vinci® robot system. At Jefferson, our surgeons are leading the way in performing robotic liver resections which provides significant advantages to laparoscopic procedures.
Robotic liver surgery allows your surgeon to operate with improved precision and ergonomics as well as a 3-D view of the surgical site. Similar to a human hand, the robotic instruments translate the natural movements of your surgeon's hand into precise movements inside the abdominal cavity. The 3-D view of the operative field along with a greater degree of freedom and tremor filtration provides your surgeon with full dexterity to perform delicate dissection and precise suturing.
As the patient, you benefit as a result of improved cosmetic results, shorter hospitalization, and less postoperative pain.
Laparoscopic Liver Resection
Jefferson surgeons are also experts at minimally invasive, or laparoscopic, liver resection surgery. Certain benign or malignant tumors of the liver can be removed through three to four keyhole-sized incisions. With laparoscopic procedures, patients typically experience less postoperative pain, can go home on the second postoperative day with just three to four small bandages covering the tiny incisions, and can get back to work much sooner.
Standard Liver Resection
A standard liver resection surgery takes a minimum of three hours. For more hard-to-reach or advanced tumors, the procedure may take four to six hours to complete and you can expect to be in the hospital for four to five days.
An incision is made across the right upper abdomen, below the ribcage. The diseased portion of the liver is removed and its supporting tissues with an ultrasonic scalpel dissector, which helps minimize bleeding. During the operation, a sterile ultrasound (U/S) probe is used to identify the tumor(s) within the liver and to search for any additional tumors that may not have been detected by the preoperative CT scan. If there are any additional tumors, they will be resected or destroyed with radiofrequency ablation.