BACKGROUND: Despite higher blood loss, morbidity, and mortality, rate of major resection is still high in most surgical institutions because of fear of incomplete tumor removal. To verify whether intraoperative ultrasonography (IOUS) minimizes the rate of major hepatectomies while maintaining treatment radicality, we have prospectively validated our policy, based on extensive use of IOUS resection guidance. STUDY DESIGN: Ninety-three consecutive patients with liver tumors were prospectively enrolled. There were 61 men and 32 women with a mean age of 65.6 years. Fifty-nine patients had hepatocellular carcinoma and 34 had colorectal cancer liver metastases. Surgical strategy was based on the relationship between the tumor and intrahepatic vascular structures at IOUS. Rates of major and minor resection, mortality, morbidity, and rate of local recurrences were evaluated. RESULTS: There was no hospital mortality; major morbidity occurred in 2.2% of patients and minor complications in 17%. Six (6.5%) patients required blood transfusion. Major resections (two or more segments) were accomplished in 14 patients (15%), and 5 (5.4%) patients had more than three segments removed. Major vascular invasion was present in 16 patients (17%), and contact without infiltration with major vessels was present in another 16; part of the wall of the inferior vena cava was resected in 1 patient. Surgical clearance was achieved in all patients without local recurrence at a mean followup of 18 months (median 13, range 6 to 52 months). CONCLUSIONS: This study shows that liver operations performed under IOUS guidance are safe and radical and reduce need for major hepatectomies.
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