Hepatobiliary Surgery is surgery that treats the Liver, bile duct and pancreas.
Some of the primary problems of the liver which the hepatobiliary surgeon treats are the primary cancers of the liver: cholangiocarcinoma, hepatocellular carcinoma and sarcomas. The liver is a big organ that also gets metastatic cancers from the other organs like the colon.
Cholangiocarcinoma can also effect the bile ducts.
The primary problem with the pancreas is the cancer adenocarcinoma. Depending on the location of the cancer on the pancreas, there will be different types of surgery used for treatment.
What surgery options are available if I have a hepatobiliary problem?
Liver problems most likely be treated by removing the part of the liver where the problem is depending on the location and size of the tumor. This procedure can be a removal of the tumor or partial section of the tumor or a partial hepatectomy where part of the liver would have to be removed.
The best part of the liver is it is the only organ that can regrow. We only need 25 to 30 percent of the normal liver to live a healthy life. This depends on the type of liver you have. Some have cirrhosis the team has to calculate different things to determine how much of the liver you have to be left behind need to live a healthy life.
The most common cancer of the bile ducts is cholangiocarcinoma or angiosarcoma involving gall bladder or common bile ducts. The bile ducts are a duct which joins the liver with the small bowels. Treatment depends on the location of the tumor; if the tumor is close to the liver or close to the bowel different surgical techniques can be used.
Pancreatic cancer can be located at different areas of the pancreas. The pancreas has four main areas, head, neck, body and tail. If the tumor is in the head of the pancreas then we do the most common procedure is the Whipple procedure or pancreaticoduodenectomy. If the tumor is located in the body and tail of the pancreas a distal pancreatectomy or is performed.
Lesions can be found in the liver or pancreas they may be benign but we can’t assume they are benign until we rule out malignancy of those lesions.
Depending on location of the tumor, the hepatobiliary surgeon can treat by open, laparoscopic or robotic means.
The liver, bile duct and pancreas operate together as one unit. It is a very complex and challenging problem which the medical team at CHI Health faces on a day-to-day basis. Most patients don’t have much information about Hepatobiliary treatments. We have a multi-team approach to work on these cancers: Gastroenterologists, Pathologists, Radiologists, Medical Oncologists and Surgeons work as one team to diagnose and treat these cancers.
Anyone that has any problems with their liver, bile duct or pancreas either benign or malignant should meet with your primary care provider and they can refer them to the medical team. We can find the best possible solution for your problem.