Liver is the most resilient of the human organ (on par with or next to skin). A very interesting experiment on liver regeneration is here. Even if two-thirds of the liver is removed, the remaining liver would regenerate to recover the full volume and function.

Cirrhosis of liver is a condition where excessive fibrosis occurs shattering the architecture of the liver. The blood vessels and the parenchymal cells of the liver get constricted into narrow spaces causing portal hypertension and fall in the Liver Function Test parameters (albumin level falls, clotting factors fall leading to spontaneous bleeding, bilirubin level rises causing jaundice, etc...). It can be either congenital or acquired. Cirrhosis is considered an end stage liver disease.

In the end stages of cirrhosis the only treatment option available is liver transplantation.


Why is partial hepatectomy (removal of part of liver) not a treatment option for end stage liver disease (cirrhosis of the acquired variety)?


1 Answer 1


The answer lies in the question. Liver cirrhosis constrains hepatocytes into small fibrous spaces limiting regeneration, hence the nodular pattern. However,fibrous degeneration occurs in specific patterns. It can be located mostly around portal regions (centrolobular pattern) or diffusely through the whole lobule.

So basically, it is all good that hepatocytes can regenerate, but the limiting factor is not that. It is the structural impairment of the liver lobules and drainage system that will impair regeneration.

Moreover, most cirrhotic patients could not tolerate halving of their residual hepatic function. Not to mention the extensive surgery required. It would kill them swiftly.


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