Please remember this information is not a substitute for asking questions of your doctor and specialist healthcare team. You are always welcome to ask questions and we would encourage you to do so.
We have recommended that you have an operation called a liver resection. The reason for this operation is likely to be because we believe there is a growth or a cancer that can be removed from part of your liver. We know that removing the tumor through an operation is the only way in which this tumor can be cured. Treatment with chemotherapy is not an alternative that offers a cure but may be helpful in slowing down and sometimes shrinking your growth. Information about your growth will be given to you in a separate info sheet. The purpose of this is to give you information about what to expect when you have a liver resection.
Your liver is a large organ found on the right-hand side of your body, under your ribcage. It has many vital functions, but you can live with only a part of your liver working. A few weeks after your operation, the part of your liver that was removed will grow back. Although the shape will be different, you will not notice any difference.
The liver has a right and left side, also known as lobes.
The part of your liver that gets removed or resected will depend on where the growth is in your liver. For example, if your growth is on the right side of the liver then you will have a right-sided liver resection. This is also known as a right hemi-hepatectomy.
A growth on the left side would require a left-sided liver resection or left hemi-hepatectomy.
We believe that your growth can be removed by resecting part of your liver. This decision is reached by looking at you and your scans and by consulting the radiologist (X-ray doctor) and other members of the team looking after you.
Unfortunately sometimes during an operation it becomes clear to the surgeon that there is more cancer present than first thought. In these circumstances resection of the liver does not take place. We know from our own experience and evidence from other specialist centres that putting you through this big operation will have no benefit for you. You will return from the operation theatre and be nursed on the ward. Your recovery from this operation may be quicker than if you had undergone a resection. After we have seen you in our rooms, you will be referred to an oncologist (cancer doctor) to discuss other treatment such as chemotherapy. This may be different in patients with cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer) who may undergo a bypass procedure. You can expect to stay in hospital 7-10 days after a liver resection, although everyone is different.