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J Gastrointest Surg. 2004 Feb;8(2):213-6.

Laparoscopic right hepatectomy: surgical technique.

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  • 1Royal Brisbane Hospital, Brisbane, Australia.


The objective of this study was to demonstrate the safety of laparoscopic right hepatectomy for benign or malignant disease. Many reports document the success of minor or segmental liver resections performed laparoscopically. Major hepatic resection has rarely been reported. This report documents our experience with 12 laparoscopic right hepatectomies. Ten patients had suspected malignancy, but all had lesions well clear of the midplane of the liver. The surgery followed three distinct phases: (1). Portal dissection during which diathermy and harmonic shears are used, clips are applied to the right hepatic duct and right hepatic artery, and a vascular stapler is used to divide the right portal vein; (2). dissection of the vena cava, which is usually done by tunneling below the liver using harmonic shears, clips, and a linear stapler to divide the right hepatic vein; and (3). parenchymal division during which harmonic shears and multiple firings of linear staplers are used to divide the liver substance. In five patients the procedure was completed totally laparoscopically, five patients had a laparoscopic-assisted procedure, and two patients had to be converted to formal open hepatectomy. Four patients required blood transfusion. There were no deaths and two cases of major morbidity-bile leakage in one and wound dehiscence in one. The average hospital stay was 8 days, but for those whose operations were completed totally laparoscopically, 4 days was the average. Two of the nine patients with documented cancer have since died-one with widespread intrahepatic hepatocellular carcinoma and another with widespread metastatic melanoma after resection of a colorectal metastasis. Seven patients with colorectal cancer are alive and disease free with follow-up of 6 to 24 months. Laparoscopic right hepatectomy is feasible in selected patients. It is technically demanding but can be safely accomplished by surgeons who have experience in advanced laparoscopic procedures and open hepatic surgery.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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