Bench surgery and liver autotransplantation. Personal experience and technical considerations.

E. Forni, F. Meriggi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Advances in hepatic transplantation have opened the possibility of bench surgery for liver disease. Thus, nonconventional methods such as the ex vivo approach (bench procedure) or the in vivo ex situ preserved liver surgery have been performed in selected cases. These methods have been confined to situations and tumour stages otherwise deemed untreatable, or to situations where resection may not be sufficiently radical. To date, primary liver tumours (hepatocellular, cholangiocellular) and colo-rectal metastases are considered to be suitable conditions. The technique used is that of liver grafting. Hypothermic liver perfusion (U.W., 4 degrees C) and pump-driven veno-venous bypass from portal vein and inferior vena cava to the superior vena cava are performed. The principal aim of bench surgery is to avoid the unnecessary removal of a large amount of normal parenchyma. Resection lines follow the segmental structure of the liver. Sometimes, an atypical hepatectomy with a parenchymal exeresis "à la demande" is required. Authors' experience with four patients undergoing ex vivo operation of the liver (three patients) or surgery on an ex situ hypothermic perfused liver (one patient) is reported. The patients had liver metastases from colonic carcinoma (1 M, 2 F) and from renal carcinoma (1 M). Major hepatic resections were performed. One patient (M) died from neoplastic intestinal recurrence after 16 months. Two patients (F) died after 24 and 9 days for sepsis and pulmonary embolism. One patient (M) died intraoperatively from a massive retroperitoneal bleeding. Being able to remove otherwise unresectable hepatic neoplasms is a worthy objective. In the presence of diffuse chemoresistant colo-rectal hepatic metastases, liver bench surgery is a promising therapeutic hope. At the basis of a good hepatic function there are a correct organ preservation, a perfect bench surgical technique with respect for vascularization and biliary drainage of the hepatic remnant, and an accurate hemostasis of the resection surface.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)407-413
Number of pages7
JournalGiornale di Chirurgia
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 1995

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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