Liver is the largest organ of the body, located in the upper right portion of abdomen. It is a vital organ with many important functions.

The liver functions are:

  • Secretes bile for digestion of fats
  • Replaces damaged cells
  • Detoxifies blood
  • Converts glucose to glycogen which is stored in liver cells and reconversion of glycogen to glucose when required
  • Stores nutrients and vitamins
  • Stores iron for red blood cell (RBCs) production
  • Secretes cholesterol and produces amino acids

Liver disease is any condition that affects liver function. Some of the diseases of liver are:

Hepatitis: Is the inflammation of the liver caused by viruses. Hepatitis A is caused by hepatitis A virus (HAV), spreads primarily through contaminated food or water by stool from an infected person. Hepatitis B caused by hepatitis B virus, and spreads by contact with an infected person’s blood, semen and other body fluids. Hepatitis C caused by hepatitis C virus spreads through contact with the infected person’s blood, sexual contact, and from mother to baby. There is no specific treatment for hepatitis and resolves themselves.

Cirrhosis: It is a chronic liver disease characterized by abnormal structure and function of the liver. Healthy liver tissue is replaced by scar tissue, partially blocking the flow of blood through the liver. Treatment includes avoidance of alcohol, nutritional therapy and other therapies. Cirrhosis when not controlled by treatment, liver transplantation is considered. It is the final option for patients with liver failure. It is a major surgery in which the diseased liver is removed and replaced with a healthy liver from a donor.

Cancer: It is a cancer arising from the liver and results from the abnormal growth of the cells in the liver. It is also known as hepatocellular carcinoma. Early cancers can be treated by surgery or a liver transplantation. The treatment options for liver cancer are:

Partial hepatectomy is surgery wherein affected part of the liver is removed along with some of the healthy tissue around it. Total hepatectomy is surgical removal of entire diseased liver and replacing it with the healthy donated liver.

Radiofrequency ablation is another method wherein special probes with tiny electrodes are used to kill the cancer cells. High energy radio waves coming from the probe destroy the cancer cells.

Jaundice: Is not a disease, but rather a symptom of liver diseases. It is yellow discoloration of skin due to high levels of bilirubin in the blood.

Surgical Treatment Includes

Liver resection: Involves surgery to remove the cancerous growth.

Microwave ablation: Needle placed through skin into liver delivers microwave energy, heating tumour to destroy it.