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It is only within recent years that the liver has received the attention of surgeons. Operations upon this organ were dreaded on account of the profuse, at times uncontrollable, hemorrhage which followed the cutting into the very vascular organ. This was observed in cases of injury of the liver, where the surgeon often was helpless in trying to check the bleeding by methods which would be applied in other organs.
Another reason why surgeons hesitated to remove large portions of the liver was the uncertainty of the physiological after-effects in the destruction of a large part of the liver substance. The knowledge on this subject was very imperfect, and when a surgeon was confronted with a case requiring resection of a large portion of the liver, the picture of acute yellow atrophy and its fatal results stood before him and naturally he was not very enthusiastic.
Spontaneous healing following injuries
BECK C. SURGERY OF THE LIVER.. JAMA. 1902;XXXVIII(17):1063–1068. doi:10.1001/jama.1902.62480170017001c