Technical Refinement in Adult-to-Adult Living Donor Liver Transplantation Using Right Lobe Graft

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To report the authors’ experience with living donor liver transplantation in adults using right lobe liver grafts, performed by a modified technique.

Summary Background Data

The initial results of seven living donor liver transplants in adults using extended right lobe grafts were satisfactory, but serious complications occurred in two donors, and six recipients required repeat laparotomy. Another 11 similar operations were performed. Further evaluation was made with the aim of improving the postoperative outcome.


From December 1996 to August 1998, 11 patients underwent living donor liver transplantation using right lobe grafts. The first four patients underwent surgery using methods previously designed and the next seven underwent a modification designed to minimize devitalized tissues on the liver transection surface, improve hepatic venous drainage, and reduce the number of hepatic duct orifices.


There were no donor deaths. Donor complications included cholestasis (n = 1) and minor wound infection (n = 1). All the first four recipients required a repeat laparotomy for infected necrotic liver transection surface (n = 1), acute pancreatitis (n = 1), hepatic vein thrombosis (n = 1), and leakage from one of the two bilioenteric anastomoses (n = 1). The patient with hepatic vein thrombosis died. In the last seven recipients, all of whom survived the operation, one required a repeat laparotomy with the discovery of a methicillin-resistant Staphylococcus aureus culture of fibrinous exudate at the left subphrenic peritoneum, and another had right hepatic duct stump necrosis. The latter was likely related to hypovolemic shock secondary to bleeding from the right saphenous vein on removal of a hemofiltration catheter. Comparison of the incidence of repeat laparotomy between the first four and the remaining seven recipients showed a significant trend of improvement. Combining the result of the seven patients reported previously, the improvement in terms of relaparotomy rate is significant.


With modification of surgical technique, living donor liver transplantation in adults using right lobe liver grafts can become a relatively safe procedure.

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