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Ann Surg. 2000 Jun;231(6):824-31.

Surgical management of anatomical variations of the right lobe in living donor liver transplantation.

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Division of Transplantation, Department of Surgery, Medical College of Virginia, Virginia Commonwealth University, Richmond, Virginia 23298-0057, USA.



To review the anatomical variations of the right lobe encountered in 40 living liver donors, describe the surgical management of these variations, and summarize the results of these procedures.


Anatomical variability is the rule rather than the exception in liver and biliary surgery. To make effective use of liver segments from living donors for transplantation, surgical techniques must be adapted to the anomalies.


Donor evaluation included celiac and mesenteric angiography with portal phase, magnetic resonance angiography, and intraoperative ultrasonography and cholangiography. Arterial anastomoses were generally between the donor right hepatic artery and the recipient main hepatic artery. Jump-grafts were constructed for recipients with hepatic artery thrombosis, and double donor arteries were joined to the bifurcation of the recipient hepatic artery. The branches of a trifurcated donor portal vein were isolated during the parenchymal transection, joined in a common cuff, and anastomosed to the recipient main portal vein. Significant accessory hepatic veins were preserved, brought together in a common cuff if multiple, and anastomosed to the recipient cava. The bile ducts were individually drained through a Roux-en-Y limb, and stents were placed in most patients.


Forty right lobe liver transplants were performed between adults. No donor was excluded because of prohibitive anatomy. Seven recipients had a prior transplant and five had a transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS). Arterial anomalies were noted in six donors and portal anomalies in four. Arterial jump-grafts were required in three. Sixteen had at least one significant accessory hepatic vein, and one had a double right hepatic vein. There were no vascular complications. Multiple bile ducts were found in 27 donors. Biliary complications occurred in 33% of patients without stents and 4% with stents.


Anatomical variations of the right lobe can be accommodated without donor complications or complex reconstruction. Previous transplantation and TIPS do not significantly complicate right lobe transplantation. Microvascular arterial anastomosis is not necessary, and vascular complications should be infrequent. Biliary complications can be minimized with stenting.

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