Traditional vs. Robotic Liver Resection Surgery

Surgery is often an important part of liver cancer treatment. The liver is a unique organ in that after a damaged section is removed, the remainder can gradually regenerate itself. Therefore, the goal of liver resection surgery is to remove a tumor while preserving a sufficient portion of the organ to maintain liver function.

Because the liver is tucked away in the upper right quadrant of the abdomen, it is often not easily accessible through surgery. For this reason, open liver resection surgery generally requires a very large abdominal incision that originates under the ribs and extends to the midsection. Alternatively, robotic liver resection surgery makes it possible for surgeons to reach and remove some liver tumors using a minimally invasive surgical approach, thus avoiding the need for a large incision and the risk of complications that typically go along with it.

The type of surgery recommended for treating liver cancer will depend on the location, stage and extent of the tumor and other patient-specific factors. Some commonly performed procedures include:

  • Wedge resection – Removal of a tumor and some surrounding tissue
  • Single segmentectomy – Removal of one of the liver’s eight segments
  • Hepatic lobectomy – Removal of one of the liver’s two lobes

In the Gastrointestinal Oncology Program at Moffitt Cancer Center, minimally invasive liver resection surgery can be further enhanced with the use of advanced technologies such as the robotic da Vinci® Surgical System. As a result, many procedures that would otherwise require a large incision can be performed through a few small incisions.

In addition to minimal scarring and a faster recovery, the primary advantages of robotic liver resection surgery – as compared to traditional open surgery for liver cancer treatment – are enhanced intraoperative visualization and dexterity. This can increase surgical precision, which directly leads to better outcomes and quality of life for our patients. What’s more, the level of a surgeon’s precision increases with every procedure performed.

The surgical oncologists at Moffitt Cancer Center are part of a comprehensive, collaborative program for treating liver cancer and other gastrointestinal cancers. If you’d like to learn more about our approach to traditional and robotic liver resection surgery, call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online. You do not need a referral to consult with an expert at Moffitt.