A man lying in a hospital bed whilst a nurse shows them a tablet

What To Expect When Recovering From Liver Resection Surgery

Liver resection is a surgery where in order to remove a liver tumour, parts of the liver are also removed. Like any major operation, liver resection comes with a recovery period which patients should be aware of before they go in for surgery.

Recovery isn’t necessarily the same for everyone, but there is a typical pattern that it tends to follow. Having an idea of what to expect can make recovery much easier.

Immediately after surgery

The amount of time before a patient may return home depends upon the type of liver resection that was performed. Generally, recovery from open surgery takes 5-7 days whereas keyhole (or laparoscopic) surgery can range between 2-5 days depending on the amount of the liver removed.

During this time, fluid/electrolyte balance, blood glucose levels and blood loss will be monitored carefully and any abnormalities will be treated. You will also gradually return to eating solid foods and become able to move around more freely.

After you’re discharged

Once you are discharged and return home, you will likely still feel the effects of your surgery for some time. It may be up to 12 weeks before you fully return to your normal activities. It is advisable to avoid heavy lifting for six weeks after abdominal surgery.

Alcohol will also have to be avoided to protect the recovering liver. The symptoms of recovery may include soreness and tiredness as well as nausea at first, but these symptoms should fade over the course of the first few weeks.

Eating plenty of protein and light exercise such as walking can help to improve recovery time. A healthy liver can regenerate as much as two-thirds of its volume over a period of a few weeks.

After surgery, you may also be left with a scar. The size of this scar will vary depending on what kind of surgery you had, as open surgery tends to leave a larger scar that can be 6 to 12 inches long. The scar may appear red and raised from your skin at first, but it will fade over time.

Ready for your liver resection surgery?

Liver resection surgery is a major undertaking that requires the skills, knowledge, and experience of a specialist like Birmingham HPB Clinic. We’re consultants that can treat patients with cancerous and benign liver conditions.

Contact us today to learn more about liver resection surgery.