Liver Resection

UW Health Liver and Pancreas Surgeons in Madison, Wisconsin are experts in the surgical management of liver disorders.


About Liver Resections


For patients with either malignant or benign tumors, a liver resection may be a part of the treatment plan. Liver resection is a common treatment for:

  • Malignant tumors
    • Those coming from the liver itself, such as hepatocellular carcinoma or cholangiocarcinoma
    • Those coming from other locations, such as the colon and rectum
  • Benign tumors
    • Hepatic adenoma
    • Cystadenoma
    • Hemangioma

The liver is located in the right upper portion of the abdomen and has eight segments. During a liver resection, part of the liver may be removed.


Resections of the liver can range from relatively small (one or less than one segment) to major (up to six segments).


Types of Liver Resections


Common types of resections include:

  • Right hemihepatectomy (removing the right half of the liver)
  • Left hemihepatectomy (removing the left half of the liver)
  • Extended right hemihepatectomy (removing the right side and part of the left side of the liver)
  • Extended left hepatectomy (removing the left side and part of the right side of the liver).

In addition, small tumors can often be removed by removing less than one segment or parts of two segments; this is off called wedge resection.


One more uncommon resection is called a "caudate" resection - this means removing a single section called the caudate, which is part of the liver but is a separate lobe and is located in a position which makes removing it somewhat more involved.


Some of these procedures may be performed laparoscopically but most usually require a traditional open approach. The gallbladder is often removed as part of a liver resection. This is because it is located on the surface of the liver, towards the plane of division between the right and left liver. In addition, removal of the bile duct can also be required at times depending on the disease process requiring removal of parts of the liver.