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This study aimed to compare clinical outcomes of the middle hepatic vein (MHV)-oriented versus conventional hemihepatectomy for perihilar cholangiocarcinoma (PHC).From 2008 to 2017, medical records of patients undergoing hemihepatectomy with caudate lobectomy for advanced PHC were reviewed retrospectively. MHV-oriented hepatectomy was defined as full exposure of the MHV on the dissection plane. Predictors of morbidity and survival were identified.A total of 125 patients were enrolled. MHV-oriented and conventional hepatectomies were performed in 44 and 81 patients, respectively. The curative resection rate, blood loss, transfusion, and survival were comparable between two groups; however, severe morbidity rate was significantly lower in the MHV-oriented group (9.1% vs 38.3%, P < 0.001). MHV-oriented approach was an independent predictor of severe morbidity, as were the age, bilirubin level, and blood transfusion. Severe morbidity was associated with significantly decreased overall survival and recurrence-free survival (RFS) (median 29.0 vs 46.9 months, P = 0.011 and 20.3 vs 31.1 months, P = 0.003, respectively). Multivariate analysis revealed that severe morbidity independently predicted shorter RFS (P = 0.025).MHV-oriented approach for advanced PHC is safe and associated with a significant decrease in severe morbidity. Severe morbidity adversely affects survival after surgery; therefore, optimal preoperative preparation and MHV-oriented hepatectomy with meticulous dissection remain of critical importance.