Benign Liver Tumours
Tumours in the liver can be benign, or non-cancerous and these include haemangiomas, focal nodular hyperplasias and adenomas.
While being diagnosed with this on radiological imaging such as ultrasound, CT Scan or MRI can be stressful for a patient, it is important that you have the opportunity to discuss these findings.
Haemangiomas and focal nodular hyperplasias generally do not require surgery. Hepatic adenomas that meet certain size criteria, or growth rates may need resection. Benign tumours that cause symptoms may also need surgery
Cancerous tumours in the liver can arise from the liver or spread from other primary cancers such as colon and rectal cancer. Outcomes of patients with colon cancer spread to the liver in particular have improved dramatically in recent years with surgery and chemotherapy.
Colon cancer that has spread to the liver can be present in the liver at the time of bowel surgery, but can develop later on during follow up tests and imaging. These tests include blood test called CEA (carcinoembryonic antigen), CT Scans, MRI or PET Scans.
Successful Liver Tumour Removal
The success of a liver tumour removal depends on the following factors:
- Location of the tumour
- Number of masses
- Distribution of the masses
- Amount of liver left after tumour removal
Resection of a large portion of the liver is may be possible because the remaining liver grows to compensate for the part that was removed.
Making the Determination for Liver Resection
In combination with other members of the multidisciplinary team, Dr Channdrasegaram will assess if it is possible to remove the entire tumour or all of the disease while leaving enough liver behind.
In some instances it may appear that the disease involves a large majority of your liver, and it may be determined that surgery is impossible. However, sometimes with the combination of chemotherapy to shrink the tumour and portal vein embolisation to help the liver “grow” before the surgery, our surgeons are able to remove all the cancer in the liver.
Minimally Invasive Tumour Resection
For suitable patients, one can also perform laparoscopic liver tumour removal which involves removing part of the liver with minimally invasive techniques, requiring a smaller incision and providing a quicker recovery.
Innovative Liver Surgery Techniques
Other innovative surgical techniques that have been widely adopted include surgery to remove some of the masses combined with radiofrequency ablation to destroy other masses with heat.
In some patients with extensive liver cancer it might be more successful to remove all the lesions over two operations as opposed to one.