, Volume 22, Issue 2, pp 372-378
Date: 18 Aug 2007

Laparoscopic liver resection for hepatocellular carcinoma

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Single, small hepatocarcinomas (HCC) are still an indication for partial liver resection in patients ineligible for transplantation. Anatomical resections are recommended for oncological reasons. The mini-invasive approach of laparoscopy should minimize hepatic and parietal injury, thereby decreasing the risk of liver failure and ascites. However, the oncological results of this approach and its presumed benefits remain undemonstrated. We evaluated the short- and midterm results of laparoscopic liver resections for HCC.


Between 1999 and 2006, we performed 32 laparoscopic liver resections for HCC. Mean tumor size was 3.8 ± 2 cm and the mean age of the patients was 65 ± 11 years. Twenty-two patients had cirrhosis (21 Child A and one Child C). Operative and postoperative results were analyzed, together with recurrence and survival rates.


We carried out 13 unisegmentectomies, nine bisegmentectomies, one trisegmentectomy, two right hepatectomies, one left hepatectomy, and six atypical resections. The duration of the operation was 231 ± 101 minutes. Conversion to laparotomy was required in three patients (9%), none in emergency situations. Mean blood loss was 461 ml, with five patients (15.6%) requiring blood transfusion. The mean surgical margin was 10.4 mm. One cirrhotic patient (Child C) underwent surgery for a partially ruptured tumor and died of liver failure. Two patients had ascites and no transient liver failure occurred in the other 19 cirrhotic patients. Mean hospital stay was 7.1 days. During a mean follow-up of 26 months, 10 patients (31%) presented recurrence within the liver. None of the patients had peritoneal carcinomatosis or trocar site recurrence. Three-year overall and disease-free survival rates were 71.9% and 54.5%, respectively.


Laparoscopic liver resection for HCC is feasible and well tolerated. Midterm survival and recurrence rates are similar to those after laparotomy.