Doctor taking blood pressure of patient.

Partial Hepatectomy

Also known as: Minimally Invasive Liver Surgery

When cancer affects the liver, one of the most vital and essential organs, you can be confident your doctors at Providence use the most comprehensive and effective procedures to minimize risks and maximize results. Our goal is to help treat cancer and other liver conditions precisely and effectively to help you heal and move on.

Often performed on patients who suffer from liver cancer, partial hepatectomy is the surgical removal of a portion of the liver. Also called a liver resection, the procedure is meant to remove parts of the liver affected by cancerous tumors and leave behind other liver sections to perform normal functions.

Because the liver performs a variety of essential bodily functions, partial hepatectomy is an extremely sensitive procedure. The surgery is performed on patients who can sustain removal of a tumor and parts of the liver while still allocating enough of the liver for other functions. Despite being a rare procedure, removal of the tumor in the liver offers the best chance for cure.

Partial hepatectomy is also a valuable surgery for those who suffer from colorectal metastases, a symptom of colon cancer where cancer spreads to the liver.

Before the procedure, imaging techniques such as CT and MRI scans are used to detect the severity of the liver cancer and pinpoint the tumor. Patients with more severe cancers are recommended not to undergo partial hepatectomies.

The surgery is performed using general anesthesia and minimally invasive (laparoscopic) techniques.

During your procedure, your surgeon makes small incisions in your right abdomen. Through these cuts, your surgeon inserts long needle-like ports. The ports help guide the surgical tools toward your liver without harming surrounding tissue.

Once the surgical instruments are inserted, your surgeon cauterizes a portion of the liver. This helps seal blood vessels and keeps the liver from internal bleeding. Then, using the laparoscope as a guide, each layer of the liver is cut until the cancerous portion can be removed.

Once the diseased portion is removed from the rest of the liver, a small bag is inserted through the ports to remove it.

The surgery can take anywhere between two and four hours. At Providence, our surgeons, nurses, and caregivers work to ensure your surgery is performed in a comfortable and relaxing environment to avoid complications.

The minimally invasive techniques used to perform this liver surgery are designed to avoid harm to vital organs, reduce scaring and improve each patient’s quality of life post-operation. Despite the use of these techniques, some complications may occur. These include bleeding, infection and blood clots, as well as postoperative pain.