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Dig Dis Sci. 1996 Sep;41(9):1713-21.

Technique for orthotopic reduced-size hepatic transplantation combined with ex vivo liver cut down in the rat.

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Department of Surgery II, Kumamoto University Medical School, Japan.


A technique is described for orthotopic reduced-size hepatic transplantation combined with ex vivo liver cut down in the rat. Following perfusion of the donor liver with cold heparinized saline, the portal veins, bile ducts, and hepatic arteries to the median and left lobes together were dissected in situ, encircled, and divided. After harvesting the donor liver, a hepatectomy was performed by ex vivo liver cut down of the median and left lobes. The remnant amounted to 32% of the whole liver. As a result, the suprahepatic vena cava could be well visualized with adequate exposure for vascular anastomosis. Orthotopic reduced-size hepatic transplantation was performed using the right and caudate lobes of the liver. The suprahepatic vena cava was anastomosed with a 7-0 silk running suture. A simplified cuff without processes was made with an obliquely cut polyethylene tube and used for the portal and infrahepatic caval anastomoses. A Teflon tube stent was used for the biliary anastomosis. The newly devised angled clamp and flexible arm were used for the cuff attachment and operative procedure. Transplant survival following ex vivo liver cut down was as good as that with whole liver transplantation. Reestablishment of the hepatic artery restores liver function following transplantation. The maximum hepatocyte labeling index (LI) occurs 24 hr after a 68% hepatectomy, and at 36 hr following a reduced-size hepatic transplantation with or without hepatic arterialization. Possible explanations for the slight delay in achieving the maximal LI may include damage that is induced by the operation itself, pregraft preservation, and reperfusion injuries. In conclusion, the anatomical features of the hepatic lobes in rats are well suited to successful completion of ex vivo liver cut down.

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