Portal Vein Embolization Before Liver Cancer Surgery

Portal vein embolization, or PVE, is a technique that is occasionally used prior to liver cancer surgery to promote liver regeneration. The liver is unique in that it can regenerate itself after part of the organ is removed, as long as a sufficient portion remains to facilitate the process. However, if a large section of the liver must be removed, embolization may be recommended to “kick start” the regeneration process prior to surgery.

Portal vein embolization is a multi-step process:

  • First, the surgeon locates the blood vessel that feeds the side of the liver containing the largest section of the tumor.
  • The surgeon then blocks off this blood vessel to “trick” the body into growing the other side of the liver, where less tissue will be removed.
  • The body will create new, healthy liver cells over several weeks, making it possible for the liver to continue regenerating itself and doing its job after the abnormal tissue is removed. Once a sufficient amount of new tissue has been created, the patient can be scheduled for a tumor resection or another type of liver cancer surgery.

At Moffitt Cancer Center, portal vein embolization is just one of the advanced surgical techniques we use to help our patients achieve the best possible outcomes and maintain high quality lives throughout treatment. Our team has extensive experience in performing a wide range of liver cancer surgeries, including PVE, and can help each patient decide on the most appropriate treatments for his or her needs.

For more information about surgical treatment at Moffitt, call 1-888-MOFFITT or submit a new patient registration form online. No referral is required to consult with our oncologists about portal vein embolization or any other form of liver cancer treatment.