Original Communications| Volume 127, ISSUE 5, P520-527, May 2000

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Long-term experience after ex situ liver surgery


      Background. Ex situ liver surgery allows liver resection and vascular reconstruction in patients who have liver tumors located at critical sites. Only a small series of studies about ex situ liver surgery is available in the literature. No long-term results have been published. Methods. Twenty-four patients were considered for ex situ liver surgery because conventional liver surgery was considered impossible or too hazardous. The patients' ages were 51.3 ± 7.5 years. Indications were various primary and secondary liver malignancies and benign liver tumors in 2 patients. Results. In 22 of 24 patients, the ex situ liver resection and subsequent autotransplantation were performed. The anhepatic periods in these patients lasted for 5.6 ± 1.1 hours. In the remaining 2 patients, autotransplantation was not possible and allogenic liver transplantation was performed 17 and 19 hours after hepatectomy. In 4 patients, liver failure occurred after autotransplantation and required transplantation. The confluens between hepatic veins and the inferior vena cava was reconstructed in 5 patients. Fifteen patients survived the postoperative period and were discharged after 36.5 ± 16 days. The median survival time of 6 patients who had metastases of colonic carcinoma was 21 months. The 2 patients with benign liver disease are alive 9 and 5 years after ex situ surgery. Conclusions. Extended liver resections with difficult reconstructions of the hepatic venous confluens are feasible by ex situ liver surgery and subsequent autotransplantation. However, the early postoperative mortality rate is high, especially in patients with cholestatic livers. Early tumor recurrence remained the problem in these patients with extended local tumor spread. Ex situ liver surgery should only be performed in selected patients. (Surgery 2000;127:520–7.)
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