The liver is located in the upper abdomen and is the largest solid organ in the body. It has many important complex functions, including helping digestion and removing waste products and worn-out cells from the blood. Liver biopsy may be required for assessment. Usually, a needle is inserted into the liver through the skin and a small sample of liver tissue taken. Laparoscopic surgery (inserting a flexible lighted tube via the abdomen) may also explore the liver. Liver surgery comprises various operations to treat different disorders. The most common is a resection (removal of a portion of the liver), commonly because of a malignant (cancerous) tumour. Benign (non-cancerous) tumours of the liver, such as cysts, adenomas and haemangiomas, can also be treated by liver resection. If the location of a benign tumour is superficial and small in size, the operation can be performed laparoscopically. A variety of diseases can lead to end-stage liver disease. In such cases liver transplantation, replacing the diseased liver with a healthy one, may be the only option.
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