Randomized clinical trial of radiofrequency-assisted versus clamp-crushing liver resection

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Abstract

Background

Surgical resection remains the treatment of choice for primary and secondary liver cancer. Complications are mainly related to blood loss. Radiofrequency-assisted liver resection (RF-R) has been proposed for parenchymal division as an alternative to clamp crushing in order to reduce blood loss.

Methods

Fifty patients (median age 62 (range 30–82) years) undergoing hepatectomy were randomized to RF-R (24 patients) or the clamp-crushing method (26). In the RF-R group the resection plane was precoagulated by multiple insertion of a planar triple-cooled radiofrequency ablation needle, and then the parenchyma was sectioned using a scalpel.

Results

The two groups were well matched in terms of age, sex, liver disease and type of resection. There were no deaths. Eight in the RF-R group developed complications (abscess in six, biliary fistula in three and biliary stenosis in one) compared with none of those who had resection by the crush method (P < 0·001). Two patients with cirrhosis in each group developed decompensation. Blood transfusion was required in eight of 24 patients in the RF-R group and 13 of 26 in the clamp-crushing group (P = 0·079).

Conclusion

RF-R allows parenchymal resection in a clean surgical field but is associated with a higher rate of postoperative complications than the clamp-crushing technique.

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