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Br J Surg. 1993 Dec;80(12):1557-62.

Repeat hepatectomy for cancer.

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  • 1Oncology, Digestive and Hepatic Surgery Unit, Institut Gustave Roussy, Centre AnticancĂ©reux, Villejuif, France.


In a series of 279 hepatectomies performed for cancer between June 1984 and March 1992, 46 were repeat operations, for metastases in 41 patients. The primary tumour was in the colon and rectum (28 patients), APUDoma (five) and miscellaneous (eight). Repeat hepatectomies were performed in 26 per cent of patients who had recurrence after the first liver resection and in 40 per cent of those who had liver recurrence. An unsuspected extrahepatic recurrence was discovered and resected in eight instances and in two other cases a known extrahepatic recurrence was resected during the second hepatectomy. The hospital mortality rate was 2 per cent (one patient); the death was from nosocomial pneumonia. The total morbidity rate including minor complications was 32 per cent, with a higher frequency of haemorrhagic problems after secondary liver resection (12 per cent) than after primary hepatectomy (5 per cent). The rate of postoperative complications after repeat hepatectomy was related significantly to operative blood loss greater than 1500 ml (P = 0.04). The technical problems of repeat hepatectomy were: (1) re-exposure of the liver, considered to be difficult in 67 per cent of second liver resections and 80 per cent of third procedures; (2) the liver parenchyma, which often had histological modifications between first and second resections and was more difficult to 'work' as shown by the mean duration of clamping of the hepatic pedicle (54 min for secondary versus 36 min for primary liver resection); and (3) modification of the intraparenchymal vasculobiliary anatomy following liver regeneration after major hepatectomy. Intraoperative ultrasonography was of great benefit. Rates of crude and recurrence-free survival were relatively encouraging at 47 and 33 per cent 3 years after the second liver resection for the whole group. These values were lower for colorectal cancer (37 and 21 per cent 3 years after the second hepatectomy). These figures do not, however, convey the complete picture of the outcome for these patients. During the same follow-up period, 143 recurrences were detected and a mean of 2.9 resections per patient were performed. The indications for repeat hepatectomy are still to be clarified, although the surgical technique is safe.

[PubMed - indexed for MEDLINE]
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