Computer-assisted surgery planning for complex liver resections: when is it helpful? A single-center experience over an 8-year period

Ann Surg. 2010 Nov;252(5):876-83. doi: 10.1097/SLA.0b013e3181fdd012.


Objective: The purpose of this study was (1) to compare 2-dimensional computed tomographic (2D-CT) and 3D-CT computer-assisted preoperative surgical planning, and (2) to define the indications for the latter method.

Background: The determination of functional residual liver volumes and the imaging of intrahepatic anatomy are critical when planning complex liver resections.

Patients and methods: Prospective study of 202 consecutive patients who underwent high-risk procedures (extended right/left hepatectomies, central resections, polysegmentectomies, large atypical resections, repeated resections, and hepatectomies in the setting of abnormal liver parenchyma). Preoperative evaluation included 3D-CT computer-assisted surgical planning (3D-CASP) and conventional 2D-CT imaging. Endpoints of the study were (1) determination of resectability and (2) changes in operative strategy (resection modifications/extensions/intrahepatic vascular reconstructions).

Results: Thirty-four of 202 cases were considered nonresectable on the basis of both 2D and 3D imaging results. In 56 (33%) instances, 3D-CASP either changed the 2D strategy (expansion of resection, n = 40; intrahepatic vascular reconstructions, n = 13) or provided an entirely different approach (n = 3). Eleven (5.4%) cases were considered unresectable at laparotomy on the basis of poor liver quality (n = 8) or unfeasible vascular reconstructions resulting in remnants too small to sustain physiologic function (n = 3). Significant differences between resectional 2D and functional 3D remnant liver volumes were observed in extended left hepatectomies and left trisectionectomies.

Conclusions: 3D-CASP was particularly helpful in patients with unconventional resection planes and in those with central left tumors. Its main advantages were the individualized inflow/outflow virtual analyses and the accurate determination of safely perfused/drained retained liver volumes.

Publication types

  • Research Support, Non-U.S. Gov't

MeSH terms

  • Analysis of Variance
  • Female
  • Hepatectomy / methods
  • Humans
  • Imaging, Three-Dimensional
  • Liver Diseases / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Preoperative Care
  • Prospective Studies
  • Surgery, Computer-Assisted / methods*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome