Laparoscopic Liver Surgery: What Are the Advantages in Patients with Cirrhosis and Portal Hypertension? Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis with Personal Experience

Diego Coletta, Cristina De Padua, Chiara Parrino, Valerio De Peppo, Andrea Oddi, Claudia Frigieri, Gian Luca Grazi

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Background: Laparoscopic surgery is a choice of treatment for liver diseases; it can decrease postoperative morbidity and length of hospital stay (LOS). Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in patients with cirrhosis and portal hypertension may benefit from minimally invasive liver resections (MILRs) instead of open liver resections (OLRs). Whether minimally invasive approaches are superior to conventional ones is still a matter of debate. We thus aimed to gather the available literature on this specific topic to achieve greater clarity. Materials and Methods: PubMed, EMBASE and Web of Sciences databases were assessed for studies comparing OLRs versus MILRs for HCC in cirrhotic patients up to February 2020. Data from our surgical experience from June 2010 to February 2020 were also included. Demographic characteristics, liver function, the presence of portal hypertension, tumor number, and tumor size and location were assessed; operative time, need for Pringle maneuver, estimated blood loss (EBL), major or minor hepatectomy performance, and conversion rate were evaluated for operative findings. Postoperative outcomes and liver-related complications, surgical site infection (SSI) rate, blood transfusion (BT) rate, need for reintervention, LOS, in-hospital or 30-day mortality, and radicality of resection were also considered. Meta-analysis was performed employing Review Manager 5.3 software. Results: One thousand three hundred twenty-one patients from 13 studies and our own series were considered in the meta-analysis. At preoperative settings, the OLR and MILR groups differed significantly only by tumor size (4.4 versus 3.0, P = .006). Laparoscopic procedures resulted significantly faster (120.32-330 minutes versus 146.8-342.75 minutes, P = .002) and with lower EBL than open ones (88-483 mL versus 200-580 mL, P < .00001), thus requiring less BTs (7.9% versus 13.2%, P = .02). In terms of overall morbidity, minimally invasive surgeries resulted significantly favorable (19.32% versus 38.04%, P < .00001), as well as for ascites (2.7% versus 12.9% P < .00001), postoperative liver failure (7.51% versus 13.61% P = .009), and SSI (1.8% versus 5.42%, P = .002). Accordingly, patients who had undergone MILRs had significantly shorter postoperative hospitalization than patients who underwent conventional open surgery (2.4-36 days versus 4.2-19 days P < .00001). Both groups did not differ in terms of mortality rate and radicality of resection (OLR 93.8% versus 96.1% laparoscopic liver resection, P = .12). Conclusions: Based on the available evidence in the literature, laparoscopic resections rather than open liver ones for HCC surgery in cirrhotic patients seem to reduce postoperative overall morbidity, liver-specific complications, and LOS. The lack of randomized studies on this topic precludes the possibility of achieving defining statements.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1054-1065
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Laparoendoscopic and Advanced Surgical Techniques
Issue number10
Publication statusPublished - Oct 2020


  • cirrhosis
  • hepatectomy
  • hepatocellular carcinoma
  • laparoscopy
  • liver surgery
  • portal hypertension
  • robotic

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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