Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery

, Volume 399, Issue 6, pp 707–716 | Cite as

Surgical resection techniques for locally advanced hilar cholangiocarcinoma

  • Sanjay Govil
  • Mettu Srinivas Reddy
  • Mohamed Rela
Review Article



Resection of perihilar cholangiocarcinoma involves major hepatectomy including caudate lobectomy. It is technically challenging because of the complex, intimate and variable relationship between biliary and vascular structures in the liver hilum. Resectability rates vary from 30 to 80 % and about one third of patients have microscopically involved margins. However, adequately performed resections provide 5-year survival of 30–40 % and are worth pursuing.


Better understanding of anatomy, better imaging, improved surgical techniques and progress in perioperative care of these patients have pushed the limits of resection of these tumours. Many of the traditional indicators of inoperability such as bilateral involvement of second-order hepatic ducts, contralateral biliary and vascular involvement, and need for arterial resection have been overcome or are being challenged. This review discusses techniques that may increase margin-free resectability of Bismuth–Corlette type III and IV perihilar cholangiocarcinoma.


Advanced perihilar cholangiocarcinoma requires extended liver resection and often vascular resection, despite which the margin may be compromised in about one third of patients. Right sided tumours are likely to need right trisectionectomy and portal vein resection, best served by an en bloc hilar resection or Rex-recess approach. Left-sided tumours often involve contralateral blood vessels and require left trisegmentectomy with possible right portal vein or right hepatic artery reconstruction. These tumours are best tackled by hepatobiliary surgeons with experience in microvascular techniques. Salvage procedures when arterial reconstruction is not feasible are still under evaluation.


Hilar cholangiocarcinoma Extended hepatectomy Vascular resection Locally advanced Vascular involvement 


Conflicts of interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Sanjay Govil
    • 1
  • Mettu Srinivas Reddy
    • 1
  • Mohamed Rela
    • 1
    • 2
  1. 1.National Foundation for Liver ResearchGlobal HospitalChennaiIndia
  2. 2.Kings College HospitalLondonUK

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