Major Hepatectomy for the Treatment of Complex Bile Duct Injury

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Postcholecystectomy complex bile duct injuries involving the hilar confluence, which are often associated with vascular injuries and liver atrophy, remain a considerable surgical challenge. The aim of this study is to report our experience of major hepatectomy with long-term outcome in these patients.


From January 1987 to January 2002, 18 patients underwent a major hepatectomy for complex bile duct injuries. The hilar confluence was involved in all cases and was associated with vascular injuries in 13 (72%), including arterial injuries in 11, and partial liver atrophy in 15 (83%). The average time interval between the initial cholecystectomy and hepatectomy was 43 ± 63 months and 16 (88%) patients had previously undergone an average of 2 (range 1–3) surgical repairs.


Major liver resection included a right hepatectomy in 14 (78%) patients, a left hepatectomy in 3, and a left trisectionectomy in one. There was no postoperative mortality, but severe postoperative morbidity was experienced in 11 (61%) patients, including biliary fistula in 7 (39%), prolonged ascites in 8 (44%) and hemorrhage requiring reoperation in one. With a median follow-up time of 8 years (range 3 to 12), 17 (94%) patients have excellent or good results, including 13 patients without symptoms.


This study shows that salvage major hepatectomy is an efficient treatment for patients with complex hilar bile duct injuries and should be considered before liver transplantation or recourse to metallic stents.

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