Liver resection is the surgical removal of a portion of the liver, usually done to remove various types of liver tumours that are located in the liver. The goal of liver resection is to completely remove the tumour and the appropriate surrounding liver tissue without leaving any tumour cells behind. Liver resection is suggested for patients with one or two small (5 cm or less) tumours, confined to the liver with no invasion of the blood vessels.
Resection of a portion of the liver for transplant is referred to as hepatectomy.
When a portion of a normal liver is removed, like in the case of a hepatectomy, the remaining liver will regenerate within a few weeks. A cirrhotic liver, however, cannot regenerate. Hence, before resection is performed for liver cancer, the non-tumour portion of the liver should be biopsied to determine if there is associated cirrhosis.
A liver biopsy is a procedure where a small needle is inserted into the liver to collect a tissue sample. The tissue is analysed in a laboratory to provide doctors with a diagnosis.