Background: Efficient and safe liver parenchymal transection is dependent on the ability to address both parenchymal division and hemostasis simultaneously. In this article we describe and compare with a saline-linked instrument a new radiofrequency (RF)-assisted device specifically designed for tissue thermocoagulation and division of the liver used on an in vivo pig liver model.
Methods: In total, 20 partial hepatectomies were performed on pigs through laparotomy. Two groups were studied: group A (n=8) with hepatectomy performed using only the proposed RF-assisted device and group B (n=8) with hepatectomy performed using only a saline-linked device. Main outcome measures were: transection time, blood loss during transection, transection area, transection speed and blood loss per transection area. Secondary measures were: risk of biliary leakage, tissue coagulation depth and the need for hemostatic stitches. Tissue viability was evaluated in selected samples by staining of tissue NADH.
Results: In group A both blood loss and blood loss per transection area were lower (p=0.001) than in group B (70+/-74 ml and 2+/-2 ml/cm(2) vs. 527+/-273 ml and 13+/-6 ml/cm(2), for groups A and B, respectively). An increase in mean transection speed when using the proposed device over the saline-linked device group was also demonstrated (3+/-0 and 2+/-1cm(2)/min for group A and B, respectively) (p=0.002). Tissue coagulation depth was greater (p=0.005) in group A than in group B (6+/-2 mm and 3+/-1 mm, for groups A and B, respectively). Neither macroscopic nor microscopic differences were encountered in transection surfaces between both groups.
Conclusions: The proposed RF-assisted device was shown to address parenchymal division and hemostasis simultaneously, with less blood loss and faster transection time than saline-linked technology in this experimental model.