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World J Surg. 2013 Nov;37(11):2655-63. doi: 10.1007/s00268-013-2183-6.

Intraoperative liver ultrasound still affects surgical strategy for patients with colorectal metastases in the modern era.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Ospedale Mauriziano "Umberto I", Largo Turati 62, 10128, Turin, Italy,



The present study was designed to evaluate the role of intraoperative ultrasound (IOUS) in intrahepatic staging and the impact on surgical strategy for patients with colorectal liver metastases (CRLM).


The study included 515 patients who had undergone liver resection for CRLM at two tertiary care referral centers. Data from a prospectively collected database were retrospectively analysed. Early intrahepatic recurrence was assessed at 3 and 6 months after resection and was considered as residual disease undetected by IOUS. Performance of imaging modalities was compared by analysis of studies on individual patients.


A total of 1,370 liver metastases were detected preoperatively with a median of 3 imaging modalities. MRI and PET were performed in 51 and 42 % of the patients, respectively. Median number of days between last imaging and surgery was 18. Contrast-enhanced IOUS was performed in 136 patients (26.4 %). Intraoperatively, 293 new nodules were found in 132 patients: on histology 280 were CRLM (17.6 %). Surgical strategy was changed in 140 patients (27.2 %). On multivariate analysis synchronous and bilobar metastases ≥ 3 in number, BMI ≥ 30, and time between last imaging and surgery longer than 18 days resulted in predictive factors indicating new nodules detected by IOUS. Early intrahepatic recurrences were 3.7 and 7.9 % at 3 and 6 months. Performance of CT, MRI, FDG-PET, and intraoperative staging was compared: sensitivity was 63.6, 68.8, 53.6, and 92 % and specificity was 91, 92.3, 95.8, and 97.8 %, respectively


The use of IOUS continues to be mandatory for correct staging of patients with CRLM undergoing liver resection.

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