Liver Surgery

Liver cancer is often curable, thanks to a procedure known as liver resection surgery. At the Henry Ford Liver Disease Center, our liver disease experts provide you with the safest, most effective surgical options for the size and location of your liver tumor.

Liver surgery at Henry Ford Liver Disease Center

Liver resection, or surgery, involves the surgical removal of liver tumors. Depending on the size and location of your liver tumor, your liver surgeon may recommend traditional liver resection over minimally invasive liver surgery.

At Henry Ford, we are one of the country’s largest and most experienced liver disease centers. Our expert team provides advanced, comprehensive care for even the most complex liver tumors before, during and after liver resection. That care includes:

  • Highly skilled surgeons: We have five full-time liver surgeons who have gone through advanced fellowship training in liver transplant surgery. (Liver transplant is often recommended if your tumor can’t be removed with liver resection.) Learn more about our liver transplant program.
  • Leaders in minimally invasive liver surgery: We performed the first successful laparoscopic (liver resection via four to five small keyhole incisions in the abdomen) and robot-assisted major liver resections in Michigan.
  • Advanced, comprehensive cancer care: We offer comprehensive, advanced liver cancer care through Henry Ford Cancer Institute (HFCI), one of the largest adult cancer centers in Michigan. Our cancer specialists travel all over the world to train other physicians in procedures pioneered at HFCI, including robotic and minimally invasive surgery.
  • Top liver disease specialists: We have six full-time hepatologists who can help care for liver related issues both before and after your resection.
  • Seamless, multispecialty collaboration: We have a weekly liver tumor board meeting, where our multidisciplinary team of highly skilled physicians, surgeons, nurses and other providers meet together to participate in comprehensive discussions about all aspects of your care, so that the right treatment conclusions are made.

Learn more about us and our expert team of specialists.

Am I a candidate for liver surgery?

You may be a good candidate for liver surgery if:

  • You have hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), the most common type of liver cancer.
  • You have gallbladder cancer or bile duct cancer (cholangiocarcinoma.)
  • Your tumor is confined to the liver.
  • Your tumor is caught early enough.
  • You have good liver function.

More than four in every five people with liver cancer in the U.S also have cirrhosis, or liver scarring. Cirrhosis complicates liver surgery because it reduces the amount of healthy liver tissue available to perform crucial liver functions, like removing toxins from your blood.

It’s important to know the exact stage (or severity) of your cirrhosis to know if liver resection is the best option for you. At Henry Ford, we are one of the few liver disease centers in Michigan to offer FibroScan, a new, noninvasive test to stage your cirrhosis.

Learn more about FibroScan and liver disease diagnosis at Henry Ford.

If you aren’t a good candidate for liver resection, we also offer a wide variety of nonsurgical and surgical alternatives, including liver transplantation. Learn more about our nationally-renowned liver transplant program.

Liver surgery: What to expect

Liver resection is major surgery requiring anesthesia. Your surgeon will make sure you are healthy enough for surgery and that all of the tumor can be successfully removed while leaving enough healthy liver tissue behind. This will help avoid dangerous liver failure, a potential complication of liver resection. The remaining liver will regenerate (grow back) to its original size in one or two weeks.

After the resection is complete, your liver specialist may recommend follow-up imaging and blood tests every three to six months for two years to make sure the tumor hasn’t grown back or spread.

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