How to Transect the Liver? A History Lasting More than a Century

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There is a close relationship between blood loss during transection and unfavorable outcome. Many different methods have been used in order to cut the parenchyma, while leaving vital structures intact, coagulate small vessels and seal small biliary ducts. The first method described was the finger-fracture technique and, alternatively, the clamp-crushing method using a small forceps. With this technique, the liver is crushed between the ‘jaws’, and the vessels and bile ducts are successively ligated and divided. Technological research using different sources of energy developed the water jet dissectors and the ultrasonic dissectors. The CUSA® has been widely adopted for the fascinating way it could selectively destroy and aspirate parenchyma leaving vascular structures almost intact. Several studies have been addressed to clarify these critical points. However, in the majority of cases they are underpowered to demonstrate clear advantages of one method over the others. In conclusion, the evidence suggested no superiority of other techniques over clamp-crushing. But it must be taken into account that it requires strictly hepatic pedicle clamping. The devices available should be used within the limits of each instrument, as well as the surgical skills of the surgeon. Probably the best option should be a combined approach.

Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel

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