Role of portal vein embolization in liver surgery: Single centre experience in sixty-two patients

Francesca Ratti, Corrado Soldati, Marco Catena, Michele Paganelli, Gianfranco Ferla, Luca Aldrighetti

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The extent of liver resection is limited by the residual functional reserve of the liver (FLR). The introduction of portal vein embolization (PVE), with the rationale of inducing hypertrophy of the FLR has significantly reduced morbidity and in particular the impact of postoperative liver failure (PLF). The objective of the study is to evaluate the feasibility and effectiveness of PVE in patients candidates to liver resections with high risk of PLF. Between January 2006 and December 2009, 62 patients suffering from primary or metastatic liver tumour, underwent PVE at the Department of Surgery-Liver Unit HSR. CT assessment of hepatic volume was performed in each patient, prior and 4 weeks after the procedure. The outcome was evaluated in terms of feasibility of surgery, FLR growth [calculated as: (FLR after PVE-FLR pre PVE) 9 100/FLR pre PVE], morbidity and mortality associated with PVE and surgery. Of the 62 patients undergoing PVE, 6 (9.7%) did not benefit from surgery: of these, 4 showed spread of disease in the FLR at CT control, while in the remaining 2 adequate hypertrophy was not reached. The average volume of the FLR at the time of the procedure and after 4 weeks was 437.03 cc (±172.54) and 615.15 cc (± 187.49), respectively, with an average increase of 50.3% (±30.31). During the postoperative period, only 2 patients (3.2%) showed mild and transient signs of the PLF. The technique of PVE allows to performing, in an effective and safe way, major liver resections in patients with high risk of PLF.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)153-159
Number of pages7
JournalUpdates in Surgery
Issue number3-4
Publication statusPublished - 2010


  • Liver failure
  • Liver surgery
  • Portal vein embolization

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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