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Liver Transpl. 2011 Aug;17(8):969-75. doi: 10.1002/lt.22337.

Use of an upper midline incision for living donor partial hepatectomy: a series of 143 consecutive cases.

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Center for Liver Cancer, National Cancer Center, Ilsandong-Gu, Goyang-Si, Gyeonggi-Do, Republic of Korea.


Over a period of 2 years, we used an upper midline incision (UMI) without laparoscopic assistance in 143 consecutive living donor partial hepatectomy (LDPH) procedures, regardless of the graft type or the donor age, sex, body mass index, or body shape. Here we report surgical recommendations based on our experience with the use of UMIs in this context. The celiac axis (CA) depth ratio (the depth-to-width ratio for the trunk at the CA) was measured to define the shape of the abdominal cavity. A questionnaire was used to assess satisfaction and cosmetic outcomes in this population of donors. One hundred forty-one of the grafts (98.6%) were right grafts or extended right grafts; there were no donor deaths. The mean time of the operation up to graft retrieval in 141 right side grafts was 3 hours 1 minute. All donors recovered fully and returned to their previous activities. Major complications occurred in 9 patients (6.4%) and included reoperation due to bleeding (4), the insertion of a percutaneous drain (4), and rhabdomyolysis (1). Male sex, a large graft (>900 kg), a fatty liver (large fatty changes ≥ 10%), and a deep truncal cavity (a CA depth ratio > 0.35) were significant risk factors for a long graft retrieval time. The use of a wound protector significantly reduced wound complications. The cosmetic outcomes were more satisfactory when a UMI preceded partial hepatectomy instead of a conventional J-shaped incision (P = 0.01). In conclusion, a UMI without laparoscopic assistance can be safely used for LDPH, regardless of the graft type or the donor characteristics. However, the procedure after a UMI is more difficult in male donors with large fatty livers and deep truncal cavities. Accordingly, these features can be used as exclusion criteria for surgeons not accustomed to this modified procedure.

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