Liver Resection Surgery
The liver is the largest solid organ in the
body. It is also the largest gland in the body.
The liver is one of the few organs that can
keep working and reproduce itself, even
when a large part of it is removed. The liver
has two large parts, called the right and the
left lobes. The gallbladder sits under the
liver, along with parts of the pancreas and
intestines. The liver and these organs work
together to digest, absorb, and process food.
The liver's main job is to filter the blood
coming from the digestive tract, before
passing it to the rest of the body. The liver
also filters toxins from your blood, and
breaks down and absorbs drugs. The liver
makes bile that empties into the intestines.
The liver also makes proteins needed for
blood clotting and other functions.
Liver resection is the surgical removal of
part of the liver. Liver resection can range
from somewhat small (one or less than one
segment) to major (up to six segments).
During a liver resection, the part of your
liver that contains the mass is removed,
along with some healthy liver tissue on
either side. If a major part of your liver is
removed, your gallbladder, which is attached
to the liver, is also removed.
You will need general anesthesia with this
surgery. The operation can take 2 to 8
hours. A blood transfusion is sometimes
needed for this operation. You will have an
incision in the abdomen just below the rib
cage or you may have 3-4 small incisions if
the surgery is done laparoscopically. You
may stay in the hospital for 5 to 7 days or as
long as 2 weeks after surgery.
ξ Wear loose clothing.
ξ You may shower once okayed by your
ξ Bruising at your incision site is
ξ Check your wounds daily and report
problems such as:
o Increased redness, swelling or
o Drainage such as blood or pus
o Temperature over 100.4 θ F by
mouth for two readings taken 4
o Excess bruising
ξ If you go home with a drain; we will
teach you how to care for it.
ξ It is normal to have a hard area along
the length of your incision.
Expect to have pain after surgery. Some
patients report pain for months after surgery.
If your surgery was done laparoscopically,
expect to have less pain. You will have pain
medicine to ease the pain. You will have
pain pills to use at home.
ξ We will help you walk the day after
surgery. Plan to take 4 walks a day;
this is a vital part of your recovery.
ξ Plan for rest times during the day.
Major fatigue is very common as the
liver restores it self.
ξ Light activity at home is encouraged
ξ Do not lift more than 10 pounds for 6
ξ Nothing more strenuous than
walking or climbing stairs until
okayed by your doctor.
ξ Check with your doctor before going
back to work.
ξ No driving while you are taking
narcotic pain pills.
ξ It may take 2-3 months or more for
you to feel like yourself again.
ξ Resume sex when you feel ready,
this may not be for several weeks.
ξ Avoid all tobacco including second
It will take your body time to adjust from
surgery. You may not feel like eating much
for days to weeks. Your diet will change
slowly. Each person’s tolerance for food
varies. Most of our patients go home on a
modified regular diet. Drink plenty of fluid
each day and slowly increase the fiber in
your diet to prevent constipation. If you do
not feel like eating food, try to have up to 3
servings of liquid protein drinks a day.
Examples of liquid protein drinks are
Ensure , Enlive , Boost , and Carnation
When to Call the Doctor
Whites of your eyes turn yellow
Skin develops a yellow color
Dark urine (the color of tea)
Incision is more red or warm to touch
Excess swelling or bleeding
Temperature (by mouth) above 100.4º
F for 2 readings taken 4 hours apart.
Pain not controlled with pain pills
Nausea or vomiting
Any new symptoms that concern you
Surgery Clinic: (608) 263-7502. This is a
24 hour number.
After hours and weekends this number will
be answered by the paging operator. Ask for
the doctor on call for Dr. Cho, Dr. Weber,
Dr. Winslow or Dr. Neuman. Leave your
name and phone number with the area code.
The doctor will call you back.
Toll Free: 1-800-323-8942
References: UWhealth.org, National Institutes of Health.org, MedLinePlus.net, MedicineNet.com, WebMD.com
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call if you
have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with your doctor. This
is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. Because each
person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on your health care team when using
this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright © 5/2017. University of Wisconsin Hospitals
and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the Department of Nursing. HF#7227