Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery

, Volume 20, Issue 5, pp 1065–1071 | Cite as

What is the Learning Curve for Laparoscopic Major Hepatectomy?

Evidence-Based Current Surgical Practice



Laparoscopic liver resection is rapidly expanding with more than 9500 cases performed worldwide. While initial series reported non-anatomic resection of benign peripheral hepatic lesions, approximately 50–65 % of laparoscopic liver resections are now being done for malignant tumors, primarily hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) or colorectal cancer liver metastases (mCRC).


We performed a literature review of published studies evaluating outcomes of major laparoscopic liver resection, defined as three or more Couinaud segments.


Initial fears of adverse oncologic outcomes or tumor seeding have not been demonstrated, and dozens of studies have reported comparable 5-year disease-free and overall survival between laparoscopic and open resection of HCC or mCRC in case-cohort and propensity score-matched analyses. Increased experience has led to laparoscopic anatomic liver resections including laparoscopic major hepatectomy. A steep learning curve of 45–60 cases is evident for laparoscopic hepatic resection.


Laparoscopic major hepatectomy is safe and effective in the treatment of benign and malignant liver tumors when performed in specialized centers with dedicated teams. Comparable to other complex laparoscopic surgeries, laparoscopic major hepatectomy has a learning curve of 45–60 cases.


Laparoscopic liver resection Laparoscopic major hepatectomy Learning curve Hepatocellular carcinoma HCC Colorectal cancer 


Compliance with Ethical Standards

Conflict of Interest

The authors declare that they have no competing interests.


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Copyright information

© The Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Department of SurgeryUniversity of Texas Medical BranchGalvestonUSA
  2. 2.Liver Cancer CenterUniversity of PittsburghPittsburghUSA
  3. 3.UPMC Liver Cancer CenterUPMC MontefiorePittsburghUSA

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