What Surgery is involved?
Surgery on the liver is very safe with most patients remaining in hospital for at least 7-10 days. Surgery can be undertaken by both open and keyhole techniques (see diagram below). The keyhole ‘laparoscopic’ technique is only possible for selected patients and depends on where the tumours are on the liver (see diagram below).
The type of surgery you may require will be discussed with you by your surgeon.
In modern liver surgery the wounds are generally small with large operations/ resections performed by a single incision/cut just below the right rib cage. Immediately following surgery for the first 24 to 48 hours patients are managed on the progressive care unit with transfer to their private room for the remainder of their stay. Up to 65% of the liver can be removed safely with the remaining liver regenerating in a matter of a few weeks to compensate. Complete recovery after discharge takes at least a further four to six weeks.
Laparoscopic liver surgery
Surgery is now undertaken mainly via the keyhole technique for the large majority of patients and your surgeon will advise you of the operation, incisions and recovery when in clinic. This technique affords a quicker recovery and return to normal activities but not all patients are suitable for this approach and the decision depends on many factors especially as to where the tumour is in the liver.
Please read this scientific study on laparoscopic liver surgery carried out by the MSC team
What are the effects of Surgery?
Following a liver resection, patients do take time to recover, with a return to normal eating taking in some cases at least one to two months. Patients can lose weight after surgery but usually start to regain weight as well as full activities within a month or two. Wounds can cause some problems with infection and pain following surgery.
Do all patients have Surgery? - Non-Surgical Treatment
Unfortunately not all patients are able to undergo surgery for colorectal liver metastases. Other treatments include chemotherapy as well as Radiofrequency ablation and microwave ablation. These treatments are very specialised and your surgeon will discuss all the options with you at the time of your consultation.
The Liver is divided into eight segments based on its blood supply. Surgery is guided by where any possible tumours are in the liver and can be undertaken in some patients by keyhole surgery.