The liver lies in the right upper abdomen and is the largest intra-abdominal organ. It plays a major role in metabolism and production of bile to help digests fatty foods. The liver is a vital organ and necessary for survival. There are many disorders of the liver, which in turn can affect its functions in metabolism and bile production and secretion. These disorders include hepatic adenomas, focal nodular hyperplasia, hemangiomas, hepatocellular carcinoma, liver metastasis, liver cysts and other masses and tumors. Destruction or removal of a portion of the liver can treat many of these disorders. Treating these disorders does not necessarily affect the function of the liver.
Laparoscopic liver surgery is a minimally invasive technique which involves destroying or removing a portion of the liver through 4 or 5 small incisions (all < 1 inch,). A laparoscope and long thin instruments are used to perform the operation in order to avoid a large (12-15 inch) abdominal incision. The laparoscope functions as a camera to visualize and magnify the abdominal contents to monitors outside of the body. The liver is visualized and a portion is removed or destroyed using radio-frequency ablation. Staplers are used as well to resect or remove portions of liver.
Advantages of the Procedure
The advantages of laparoscopic liver surgery include a smaller incision, less pain, a shorter hospital stay, a lower chance of future hernia formation, and a faster recovery.
A liquid diet is started the day after surgery and advanced to a regular diet as tolerated. Patients are encouraged to walk the day of surgery. The majority of patients are discharged from the hospital one or two days after surgery. Most patients return to work in approximately one week depending on the physical requirements of their occupation. All patients are seen two weeks after surgery for routine follow-up.