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What surgical treatments are available for liver cancer?

Daniel Labow, MD
Surgical Oncology

Liver cancer is treated through multidisciplinary programs that unite specialists in liver disease, cancer treatment and surgery.  Therapies include:

  • Partial hepatectomy: The surgeon removes the part of the liver that contains the abnormal mass, as well as a small amount of healthy tissue. The remaining liver grows and functions as a whole organ. Many liver resections are performed laparoscopically.
  • Total hepatectomy with liver transplant: This procedure removes the entire liver and replaces it with a healthy organ. To be eligible for a transplant, the disease must be confined to the liver. The patient receives additional treatment as needed while awaiting transplant of a suitable donated liver.
  • Radiofrequency ablation: This technique uses a special probe with tiny electrodes that burn the cancer in the liver to destroy it. This procedure eliminates the need for surgery, and can often be done without any incision.
  • Transarterial chemo-embolization: Surgeons gain access to the patient's arterial system through the groin. They then advance a catheter inside the blood vessels until the artery supplying the liver and, more specifically, the one supplying the tumor are located. Medication and particles are given directly into the blood vessel that supplies the tumor in order to destroy it and control its growth.

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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.