Liver Cancer Surgery

If your team believes that your liver cancer can be removed completely with surgery, this will be your main treatment. Surgery is possible only if the tumor is only in your liver and has not spread. The option to have surgery also depends on where the tumor is located in your liver, how widely it has spread within your liver, and how healthy your liver is overall.

Our surgeons specialize in liver surgeries and are highly skilled in the latest surgical techniques, including laparoscopic and robotic-assisted surgery.

Partial Hepatectomy

Surgery to remove part of the liver is called partial hepatectomy. After surgery, the remaining normal liver tissue takes over the function of the liver. Up to 80 percent of the liver can be surgically removed, and the liver will regenerate itself within weeks, provided that the liver is otherwise normal.

If your cancer is confined to your liver but your doctors do not think a partial hepatectomy is right for you, you might be a candidate for a liver transplant instead.

Open, Laparoscopic, and Robot-Assisted Liver Surgery

Liver surgery for Seattle Cancer Care Alliance (SCCA) patients is done at University of Washington Medical Center. The skilled surgeons there perform both open surgeries (through one larger incision) and laparoscopic surgeries (through several smaller “keyhole” incisions). They are among the first in the nation to have performed minimally invasive robot-assisted surgery for liver cancer using the da Vinci Surgical System.

Many patients find that robotic surgery results in less blood loss, fewer transfusions, shorter hospital stays, faster healing times, and less post-surgical pain. When patients recover faster and avoid complications, the next phase of treatment can be started sooner, which can be critical to improving the patient’s overall outcome.

According to James O. Park, MD, “The robotic technique is superior to standard laparoscopy in certain situations. The improved depth perception allows greater precision and accuracy, and the instruments give the surgeon much greater range of motion to perform challenging tasks.”