Liver Surgery

Removal of large portions of the liver through wedge sections or excision of whole lobes now safely possible

Today a host of surgical procedures are available to treat liver conditions, both benign and malignant.  Techniques for making these operations more effective, and more aggressive when needed, but also safer and easier to undergo have improved liver surgery.  Surgeons can now perform even some of the more involved, complicated, major liver-surgery procedures, in just a few hours, without the need for blood transfusions, and with hospital stays of just a few days (and recovery of a few weeks).

The most common form of liver surgery is liver resection, or removal of a portion of the liver.   As liver tissue is one of the few types of tissue in the body that can regenerate itself, modern liver operations permit the surgical team to remove as much as three-quarters of the liver safely.  Within a few weeks or months, the liver can regenerate itself and return to normal size.  The liver surgery team plans these complex procedures carefully and precisely in advance, using information form CT studies and other imaging exams.

Most often liver resection is for purposes of removing a tumor.  Respected surgical oncologists in Aria's Division of Surgical Oncology provide the most up-to-date such surgical procedures for liver cancer.  Certain liver tumors may also be addressed through minimally invasive, catheter-based diagnostic procedures and treatments provided by accomplished interventional radiologists in Aria's interventional radiology service.  The cancer team may also use a variety of different means to perform a biopsy of the liver, including laparoscopic approaches.

General surgeons may operate to treat benign lesions of the liver, including cysts, adenomas, and hemangiomas.  If such lesions are located on the outside of the liver or near its surface, the surgical team may use laparoscopic surgery rather than a conventional open surgical procedure.  This makes for easier recovery.

Specialists may also intervene for portal hypertension, a high-blood-pressure condition where the primary vein carrying blood from the abdominal organs to the liver is blocked or narrowed, as well as with other vascular disorders of the liver.  Aria's Division of Vascular Surgery can offer such options.

In addition, as part of the nationally prestigious Jefferson Health System, Aria surgeons and other specialists may confer and collaborate with university gastroenterologist/ hepatologists, surgeons, and other experts to refer patients for such tertiary-care services as liver transplantation (for patients with end-stage liver disease).  Jefferson has been a liver transplantation center for more than 25 years.  This area of liver surgery also now includes liver resections for individuals who donate part of their liver to a loved one.

Liver operations may also include surgery of the bile system and surgery of the pancreas, or both.  

Specialists in Aria's Division of Gastrointestinal Disease are experts in helping to diagnose conditions of the liver.