Impact of intraoperative ultrasonography in laparoscopic liver surgery

R. Santambrogio, E. Opocher, A. Pisani Ceretti, M. Barabino, M. Costa, S. Leone, M. Montorsi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Background: Laparoscopic surgery has gained growing acceptance, but this does not hold for laparoscopic surgery of the liver. This mainly includes diagnostic procedures, interstitial therapies, and treatment of liver cysts. However, the authors believe there is room for a laparoscopic approach to the liver in selected cases. Methods: A prospective study of laparoscopic liver resections was undertaken with patients who had preoperative diagnoses of benign lesion and hepatocellular carcinoma with compensated cirrhosis. The inclusion criteria required that hepatic involvement be limited and located in the left or peripheral right segments (segments 2-6), and that the tumor be 5 cm or smaller. The location of the tumor and its transection margin were defined by laparoscopic ultrasound (LUS). Results: From December 1996, 17 (5%) of 313 liver resections were included in the study. There were 5 benign lesions and 12 hepatocellular carcinomas in cirrhotic patients. The mean age of the study patients was 59 years (range, 29-79 years). The LUS evaluation identified the presence of new hepatocellular carcinoma nodules in two patients (17%). The resections included 1 bisegmentectomy, 8 segmentectomies, 3 subsegmentectomies, and 3 nonanatomic resections. The mean operative time, including laparoscopic ultrasonography, was 156 ± 50 min (median, 150 min; range, 60-250 min), and the perioperative blood loss was 190 ± 97 ml. There was no mortality. Conversion to laparotomy was necessary for two patients. Postoperative complications were experienced by 3 of 15 patients, all of them cirrhotics. One of the patients had a wall hematoma, and the remaining two patients had bleeding from a trocar access requiring a laparoscopic reexploration. The mean hospital stay for the whole series was 6.9 ± 4.9 days (median, 6 days; range, 2-25 days) and 5.6 ±1.4 days (median, 6 days; range, 2-8 days) for the 15 laparoscopic patients. Conclusion: Laparoscopic treatment should be considered for selected patients with benign and malignant lesions in the left lobe or frontal segments of the liver. Evaluation by LUS is indispensable to guarantee precise determination of the segmental tumor location and the relationship of the tumor to adjacent vascular or biliary structures, excluding adjacent or adjunctive new lesions. The evolution of laparoscopic hepatectomies probably will depend on the development of new techniques and instrumentations.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)181-188
Number of pages8
JournalSurgical Endoscopy and Other Interventional Techniques
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2007


  • Compensated cirrhosis
  • HCC
  • Hepatocellular carcinoma
  • Intraoperative ultrasonography
  • Laproscopic liver surgery

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'Impact of intraoperative ultrasonography in laparoscopic liver surgery'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this