Can the liver re-grow?

14 September 2008

Share

Question

Is it true that you can re-grow the liver after chopping a bit off? Could that be the answer for the thousands of people that are waiting? We could turn the population into liver donors.

Answer

Kat - It's true that the liver does grow back. It does this amazing regenerative potential. You can pretty much cut away half of someone's liver and it will grow back again. It does sound like a fantastic idea for transplant patients but sadly you will still have the problem of tissue rejection. You have to very, very carefully match it. Some people do offer to act as living donors. You can donate kidneys, you can donate livers to people you're very closely related to. You're likely to have a very similar tissue type but obviously trying to remove part of someone's liver is pretty major surgery and it's not something that you'd want to go into lightly. Really the problem of the thousands of people waiting for transplants is really to get more people to sign up for the organ donor register.

Chris - I think another problem with the liver is that if you do take away a big chunk of the liver, although the cells might have the capacity to replace lost cells and make up the cell numbers there won't be the architecture, the structure there for the cells to hang around or to be strung from in order to make a new liver. Although you could make the cells back you couldn't make the same shape and structure. It would be very difficult for it to repair itself like that so I think there's more to it than just -

Kat - It will grow back. The liver will actually grow back a couple of weeks after removing it. It's really phenomenal. In the case of cancer patients you can remove 50-60% of someone's liver and it will grow back.

Comments

July 4th 2017 I had expected to have a small cancer taken from my liver but they also removed more than that due to a run from another section of the back of the liver. They then removed my gallbladder and half my liver but I was unaware of this until Sept 2017 that year.
Consequently I went through much pain and eating problems during that time and only did I find out that they could have eased the problem by giving me Omaperazole earlier.
My info on my patient letter leaving the hospital after 6 days giving no account of what had been done just pain killers.
I was rushed into hospital suddenly in Nov 2017 after feeling much better but suddenly unexpected with stabbing pains in chest this was due it seems to a tear in my artery B aorta and a hiatus hernia which was where I learnt about Omaperazole and that I should have taken them back in July.
I am now on Beta for how ever long and long last to get a CT scan in April to observe how my liver regrowth is doing and how the rest of my organs have coped, 9 months after having the operation.
My ordeal has been horrific but I managed through and at long last my strength is improving just hope it continues.
Where this after care for cancer patients! Well I certainly missed out there!
No pink ribbons for me and I am also in 6 years to bowel cancer but removed and okay that end to date.

Kiz

It has been over a year since the operation and what I went through I would not go through that again as to the pain so excruciating.
The fact that I was not told of the unexpected situations that I experienced has to be over come and stress level perhaps caused the battle of the aorta tear.
Just recently I had my 3 yr colonoscopy and everything is very clear so at least one thing recovered to date.
As for the liver a quick how are you every 6 months determines all is well but ti took it's time as stated on letter later.
Well what did they expect when they left me in the dark for months with no help but I am thankful that I have been strong enough to overcome all factors and hopefully some more time to live my life!

My husband was diagnosed with colon rectal cancer in 2013 chemo and radiation were done as well as surgery. Cancer metastasis to the liver. Over 50% was removed. In 2016 it had spread to his right upper lung and lymph nodes now we have been told the cancer is now back in the liver 6cm tumour now putting pressure on his stomach. They say there is nothing they can do. Would you agree. I’m lost with asking 4 different Drs

Can your liver recover from hepatitis and cirrhosis of the liver? And can your liver recover if you only have 40% of it left?

Whats recovery chances? Do I have to go through liver transplant to be healed?

Chemotherapy is just going to put her into a lot of suffering and pain, making her last months miserable. If you can get the cancer removed, do it and do it quick

My daughter was just diagnosed with stage four liver cancer. The Dr doesn't think she should get surgery but what I hear is that its better to get the cancer removed then do chemotherapy or other treatments. What do you think?

Looking to donate liver

A friend got a triple whammy, fatty liver, gastric bypass and 6 yrs of drinking. She stopped drinking 7 months ago but the combination of all three are killing her.

It is only obvious you want your daughter's treatment to be a success. I would get a second and even a third opinion. No matter the cost and no matter the distance. Second and third opinions can mean life or death. Unfortunately we had to learn this the hard way with our mother. I think removing the portion of her liver is the best idea along with aggressive radiation and chemotherapy. Even an additional dose after the cancer is healed. I know the question is been out there for a while. I wish you the best.

Add a comment