Since the liver is able to regenerate its substance, liver resection, the surgical removal of a portion of the liver, can be an effective treatment against liver cancer tumours. It is especially effective, if only one part of the liver is affected. Yet the procedure comes with the risk of significant complications - particularly excessive blood loss. There are two different techniques of liver resection:
An open liver resection is a complete surgical procedure. It is preferred, if the tumour is close to a major blood vessel or in a difficult to access part of the liver.
A laparoscopy is a newer method that inserts a camera into the abdominal cavity and only needs some small cuts to introduce the instruments and may be hand assisted.
Hepatic resection is a complicated procedure, at times associated with significant morbidity. In a study in the US the proportion of patients dying within 30 days among 4,661 patients that underwent hepatic resection was 6.65%. Factors that did increase the risk of dying after hepatic resection included: urgent or emergent surgery (vs. elective), primary liver cancer (vs. metastatic), male sex, increasing comorbidity score, low hospital volume, and extent of surgery.
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