General Thoracic and Vascular Surgery

New Hope for Patients with Liver Cancer

Clarence Parker with his family
Thanks to minimally invasive liver sparing surgery, Clarence Parker can look forward to happy moments with his family.

Following a diagnosis that confirmed the rectal cancer he experienced a few years earlier had metastasized to his liver, Kennewick resident Clarence Parker was referred to a major Seattle medical center. The physicians there told him the tumor’s location made it inoperable and predicted that he had six months to live.

Clarence returned to his medical oncologist Stanlee Lu, MD, who then decided to send him to Virginia Mason surgeon Adnan Alseidi, MD, EdM, FACS. Fortunately for Clarence, Virginia Mason is a leader in the state for laparoscopic and parenchymal (tissue) sparing liver surgery. Minimally invasive liver sparing surgery is also one of Dr. Alseidi’s specialties.

“Laparoscopic surgery means we can provide more lifesaving surgeries to more people with much less risk and morbidity.”

Adnan Alseidi, MD, EdM, FACS

“Colon and rectal cancers remain among the top three cancers in men and women. About half of these patients will develop liver metastasis,” says Dr. Alseidi. “There used to be a common perception that patients with cancers that had metastasized to the liver had limited hope for long-term survival, but that perception is no longer universally true.

Here at Virginia Mason, laparoscopic liver tissue sparing surgery has given our patients new hope for long-term survival and even cure (in the cases where the metastasis comes from a colon or rectal cancer).” Surgical removal of the cancer is essential to achieve a cure and long-term survival.

When a patient has one or multiple tumors that are confined to the liver, these tumors can be removed laparoscopically, resulting in less stress to the body and fewer post-procedure complications, leaving healthy liver tissue unaffected. The use of the liver sparing surgery in combination with other new techniques, such as ablative techniques (to remove tissue), has allowed more patients to be treated and to realize the benefits of long-term survival and potential cure.

For Clarence, whose metastasis was located in five of eight liver segments, the tumor was removed and he was able to return home three days ahead of schedule. “A few days after the surgery, Dr. Alseidi came to my room and examined me and said I could go home. I didn’t even need chemo,” Clarence recalls. “I asked him when I was supposed to come back and see him. He said, you don’t have to unless it’s to go fishing.” Clarence was able to have all his post-operative care (which was minimal) at home to limit his travel and the burden of being away from home.

The Liver, Pancreas and Biliary Surgical Center of Excellence at Virginia Mason provides patient centered care, using the latest advances in research, techniques and a multidisciplinary team approach. This team also prides itself in partnering with patients’ local physicians to minimize cost and travel for the patient and family.