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We aimed to describe our experience with pure laparoscopic right hepatectomy (LRH) and to compare its outcomes with those of open right hepatectomy (ORH) in hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) patients with liver cirrhosis.Laparoscopic liver resection has been reported as a safe and effective approach for the management of liver cancer; however, its outcomes have not been evaluated in a large cohort of HCC patients with liver cirrhosis.We retrospectively reviewed the medical records of 152 patients who underwent pure LRH (n = 37) or ORH (n = 115) between June 2008 and July 2015 at the Asan Medical Center in Seoul, Korea. We performed 1:1 propensity score matching between the LRH and ORH groups. Subsequently, 33 patients were included in each group.There was no statistically significant difference between the LRH and ORH groups regarding the rate of complications (P = 0.053). However, the mean comprehensive complication index, which accounts for the severity of complications, was significantly lower in the LRH group (0.63 vs 4.42; P = 0.025). There were no significant differences between the LRH and ORH groups regarding 2-year disease-free survival rate or 2-year overall survival rate (P = 0.645 and P = 0.090, respectively).Even in patients with cirrhosis, pure LRH is not less safe than the traditional open approach. The oncological outcomes of HCC were also comparable between the two groups. In selected patients, pure LRH for HCC appears to represent a viable alternative to ORH.