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Lacerated Liver

Where is the liver?

The liver is located in the upper right corner of the abdomen. It weighs about three pounds in an adult.

What is the function of the liver?

The liver has many functions:

  • phagocytosis (aid in the immunity/protection against infection)
  • synthesis/metabolism of fats. carbohydrates and protein
  • transformation of foreign substances (changed to be excreted)
  • production/excretion of bile
  • production of enzymes necessary for bodily function
  • storage of vitamins/minerals

What happens when a liver is lacerated?

An injured liver results in hemorrhaging (bleeding). The signs and symptoms of an injured liver include abdominal pain, guarding (holding hand over the area), tenderness in the upper right part of the abdomen, right shoulder pain and signs of shock and blood loss. This can be a major life-threatening event. Diagnosis is made by CT scan.

What will happen to my child if he/she has a lacerated liver?

The pediatric surgery team will be watching your child’s lab results carefully to determine if the laceration continues to bleed. The lab results that will be most important will be your child’s hemoglobin (main component of blood cells that carry oxygen from the lungs to the rest of the body) and hematocrit (the percentage of red blood cells in the blood). The results of this blood test should be expected to drop within the first 24 hours and then begin to resolve. Your child will be on complete bedrest for 24-48 hours with the hemoglobin and hematocrit tested every 6 to 12 hours. When your child leaves the hospital he/she must not participate in physical activity for a period of six weeks to three months. A follow-up visit to the pediatric surgery clinic will be scheduled for one week following discharge with the hemoglobin and hematocrit drawn again to check for resolution of the bleeding. The pediatric surgery team will be happy to answer any further questions that you may have.

Contact Us

University of Texas Health Science Center Professional Building
Department of Pediatric Surgery

6410 Fannin Street, Suite 950
Houston, Texas 77030

Phone: (832) 325-7234

Office Hours: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. (Monday-Friday except major holidays)

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This information, although based on a thorough knowledge and careful review of current medical literature, is the opinion of doctors at The University of Texas Medical School and is presented to inform you about surgical conditions. It is not meant to contradict any information you may receive from your personal physician and should not be used to make decisions about surgical treatment. If you have any questions about the information above or your child's care, please contact our doctors.