The learning curve in laparoscopic major liver resection

Michael D. Kluger, Luca Vigano, Ryan Barroso, Daniel Cherqui

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Laparoscopic major hepatectomy remains a relatively rare operation because it is a difficult and technically demanding procedure, and a standard, safe, reproducible technique has not been widely adopted. This is compounded by "major hepatectomy" encompassing multiple different operations each with their own anatomic and procedural considerations. In 2010, we investigated our learning curve for laparoscopic liver resection. We found a significant increase in the number of major hepatectomies performed over a 12-year period, with concurrent reductions in the use of hand-assistance, pedicle clamping, median clamping time, median operative time, blood loss and morbidity. This learning curve was confirmed by a subsequent multinational study. Both hospital and surgeon volume have been shown to affect outcomes, and defining a sufficient number of repetitions before the learning curve plateaus is not easy for laparoscopic major hepatectomy. We recommend that laparoscopic competencies be developed upon a foundation of open liver surgery and that laparoscopic major hepatectomy should only be attempted after competency with less technically complex laparoscopic resections. A center advanced along its institutional learning curve provides the collective expertise necessary for safe patient selection and management. An environment with colleagues willing to share their acquired proficiency allows the surgeon to observe and critique his or her performance against colleagues. Also, the guidance of like-minded surgeons supports technical development and improved outcomes. In conclusion, steady progress can be made along the learning curve through committed practice of increasingly complex tasks and with proper coaching in a high-volume environment.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)131-136
Number of pages6
JournalJournal of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Sciences
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Feb 2013


  • Hepatectomy
  • Laparoscopy
  • Learning curve
  • Minimally invasive

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Surgery


Dive into the research topics of 'The learning curve in laparoscopic major liver resection'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this