Surgery for primary liver cancer

The aim of surgery is to remove the part of the liver that contains cancer. This is known as a liver resection or partial hepatectomy. Only a small number of people with liver cancer can have this surgery as it is usually only suitable for a single tumour that has not grown into blood vessels. The liver also has to be working well because it needs to repair itself after the surgery. This means that people with no or early cirrhosis may be considered for surgery, but surgery is unlikely to be offered if you have more advanced cirrhosis.

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Types of liver resection

There are different types of liver resections depending on the size and position of the cancer. The diagrams below show the front view, so the right part of the liver appears here on the left, and vice versa.

Sometimes the gall bladder may also be removed, along with part of the diaphragm (the sheet of  muscle that separates the chest from the abdomen).

right hepatectomy

Right hepatectomy
Removes the right part of the liver

left hepatectomy

Left hepatectomy
Removes the left part of the liver

extended right hepatectomy

Extended right hepatectomy
Removes most of the liver, leaving a portion on the left

Extended left hepatectomy

Extended left hepatectomy
Removes most of the liver, leaving a portion on the right

Segmentectomy

Segmentectomy
Removes a small section of the liver


Surgical techniques

Most operations for primary liver cancer are done with a large cut in the upper abdomen. This is called open surgery. However, it is now becoming more common for liver tumours to be removed with several smaller cuts (called keyhole or laparoscopic surgery). The surgeon will insert a thin tube containing a light and camera (laparoscope) into one of the cuts. A tool at the end of the laparoscope can be used to remove tissue.

People who have laparoscopic surgery usually have a shorter hospital stay, less pain and a faster recovery time. However, laparoscopic surgery is not suitable for everyone and is not available in all hospitals. Talk to your surgeon about the best option for you. Whether you have open or laparoscopic surgery, a liver resection is a major operation.

You will have a general anaesthetic and the surgeon will remove the tumour as well as some healthy-looking tissue around it.


After the surgery

The portion of the liver that remains after the resection will start to grow, even if up to three-quarters of it has been removed. The liver will usually regrow to its normal size within a few months, although its shape may be slightly changed.

A lot of blood passes through the liver, and bleeding after surgery is a risk. Your medical team will monitor you for signs of bleeding and infection. Some people experience jaundice (yellowing of the skin and whites of the eyes). This is usually temporary and improves as the liver grows back. You will spend 5–10 days in hospital after a liver resection.

See Surgery for more on recovering from surgery.


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The iBooks application must be installed on your Apple device before you can read the EPUB.
Different ways to download an EPUB file to your Apple device:

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  • open EPUB files directly from Mobile Safari and open them in iBooks, where they are saved automatically by downloading the EPUB from the website.

Need more help? Visit: http://support.apple.com/kb/HT4059

Kobo

To download an EPUB file to your Kobo from a Windows computer:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • select “Open folder to view files” to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

To download an EPUB to your Kobo from a Mac:

  • download and save the EPUB directly onto your desktop.
  • connect your Kobo to your computer using the USB cable and tap “Connect” on your eReader.
  • open your “Finder” application.
  • select “Kobo eReader” from the listed devices to view the contents of your Kobo.
  • navigate to where you have stored your EPUB file in “Finder”, probably in documents or downloads, and drag and drop it into the Kobo window. You can now disconnect your Kobo to read the eBook.

Turn on your Kobo and your EPUB will be located in “eBooks”, while a PDF will be located in “Documents”.
Need more information? Visit: http://www.kobo.com/help/koboaura/response/?id=3784&type=3

Sony Reader

To download an EPUB file on your Sony Reader™:

  • ensure you have already installed the Reader™ Library for PC/Mac software
  • select the eBook you want from our website and click the link to download it.
  • connect the Reader™ to your computer.
  • open the Reader™ Library software and click “Library” in the left-hand pane and select the eBook to view it.

Need more help? Visit: https://au.readerstore.sony.com/apps_and_devices/

Amazon Kindle 2nd Generation devices

EPUB files can’t be read on the Amazon Kindle™. However, like most eReaders, Kindle™ 2nd Generation devices are able to display PDFs. We recommend that you download the PDF version of this booklet if you would like to read it on a Kindle™.
To transfer a PDF to your Kindle™ via USB cable from your computer or Mac:

  • download the PDF directly onto your computer.
  • connect the USB cable to your computer’s USB port, and the micro USB end of the cable to your Kindle™. Note: the Kindle™ won’t be available as a reading device while it is connected to your computer until it has been disconnected.
  • open the Kindle™ drive and several folders will appear inside. The “Documents” folder is where you will need to copy or drag the PDF to.
  • safely eject your Kindle™ from your computer and unplug the USB cable. Your content will appear on the Home Screen.

Kindle also provides a Kindle Personal Documents Service that allows users to send documents as an attachment directly to your eReader. For more information on this service, visit http://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html/ref=help_search_1-1?ie=UTF8&nodeId=200767340&qid=1395967989&sr=1-1
For more information on accessing a PDF on your Kindle™, visit www.amazon.com/manageyourkindle, log in to your account and click on Personal Document Settings.
Need more help? Visit https://www.amazon.com/gp/help/customer/display.html?nodeId=200375630

Android and PC

You can also download and open eBooks on Android devices and PCs with appropriate apps or software installed. Suitable eReader apps for Android include Google Play Books, FBReader and Moon+ Reader. Suitable software for PCs include Calibre and Adobe Digital Editions.


This information was last reviewed in May 2018
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