Laparoscopic Liver Resection: Is There a Learning Curve?

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Laparoscopic liver resection (LLR) is becoming an accepted treatment option for resecting both benign and malignant tumours. However, it is critical that the laparoscopic approach does not compromise the technical quality of the liver resection. The aim of this paper was to review the learning curve of LLR in a specialist HPB unit.


A prospective database was searched to identify patients undergoing LLR over a 4-year period. To assess the effect of the learning curve on outcome, the series was evaluated during two eras – early versus late.


Fifty-one (27 males, median age 68 years) patients were identified with 37 having LLR. The most common indication was for colorectal liver metastases, and the most common procedure was a non-anatomical metastectomy. Changes in management decisions (n = 14) occurred more frequently during the first era (9 vs. 5; p > 0.05). More patients underwent right hepatectomy in the late group (3 vs. 1; p < 0.05). There did not appear to be any difference in duration of surgery for laparoscopic left lateral resection between the eras (200 vs. 240 min; p > 0.05) which probably reflected trainees performing more operations during the late era. Left hepatectomy was most commonly performed in the early era compared to more right hepatectomies during the late era.


LLR is associated with a learning curve, but once this has been overcome it can be safely utilised in the management of malignant liver lesions even for major resections, surgical training and simultaneous resections.


Copyright © 2012 S. Karger AG, Basel

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