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To study whether laparoscopic liver resection (LLR) is able to alleviate the postoperative liver function impairment for hepatocellular carcinoma patients, the clinical data of 103 patients were retrospectively analyzed, including 42 patients who underwent LLR and 61 patients who underwent open liver resection (OLR), during the period spanning from 2012 to 2017. The postoperative peak aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase levels in the LLR group were significantly lower than those of the OLR group (209.76±189.516 vs. 262.55±181.19, P=0.046; 250.56±200.944 vs. 411.01±412.51, P=0.005, for aspartate aminotransferase and alanine aminotransferase, respectively). The recovering of postoperative total protein and albumin in the LLR group was faster than that in the OLR group, and the total protein and albumin levels on the postoperative day-5 were significantly higher in the LLR group than in the OLR group (62.528±9.427 vs. 57.87±6.101, P=0.019; 36.456±4.875 vs. 33.653±4.112, P=0.012, respectively). In conclusion, these data show that LLR alleviates postoperative liver function impairment and increases liver function recovery.