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Ann Surg. 1997 Jan;225(1):51-60; discussion 60-2.

Repeat hepatectomy for colorectal liver metastases.

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Liver Transplant Unit, Hôpital Paul Brousse, Université Paris Sud, Villejuif, France.



The authors assess the long-term results of repeat hepatectomies for recurrent metastases of colorectal cancer and determine the factors that can predict survival.


Safer techniques of hepatic resection have allowed surgeons to consider repeat hepatectomy for colorectal metastases in an increasing number of patients. However, higher operative bleeding and increased morbidity have been reported after repeat hepatectomies, and the long-term benefit of these procedures needs to be evaluated.


Sixty-four patients from a group of 243 patients resected for colorectal liver metastases were submitted to 83 repeat hepatectomies (64 second, 15 third, and 4 fourth hepatectomies). Combined extrahepatic surgery was performed in 21 (25%) of these 83 repeat hepatectomies.


There was no intraoperative or postoperative mortality. Operative bleeding was not significantly increased in repeat hepatectomies as compared to first resections. Morbidity and duration of hospital stay were comparable to first hepatectomies. Overall and disease-free survival after a second hepatectomy were 60% and 42%, respectively, at 3 years and 41% and 26%, respectively, at 5 years. Factors of prognostic value on univariate analysis included the curative nature of first and second hepatectomies (p = 0.04 and p = 0.002, respectively), an interval between the two procedures of more than 1 year (p = 0.003), the number of recurrent tumors (p = 0.002), serum carcinoembryonic antigen levels (p = 0.03), and the presence of extrahepatic disease (p = 0.03). Only the curative nature of the second hepatectomy and an interval of more than 1 year between the two procedures were independently related to survival on multivariate analysis.


Repeat hepatectomies can provide long-term survival rates similar to those of first hepatectomies, with no mortality and comparable morbidity. Combined extrahepatic surgery can be required to achieve tumor eradication. Repeat hepatectomies appear worthwhile when potentially curative.

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