Defining indications to ALPPS procedure: technical aspects and open issues

Updates Surg. 2014 Mar;66(1):41-9. doi: 10.1007/s13304-013-0243-y. Epub 2013 Dec 17.


The limit to surgical treatment of patients with hepatic tumors is represented by the proportion of residual hepatic parenchyma at the end of surgery (FLR, future liver remnant) that provides an estimation of the risk of postoperative liver failure. Recently, a new two-stage technique has been developed with the acronym (ALPPS) associating liver partitioning and portal vein ligation for staged hepatectomy with the aim of obtaining a more rapid and effective increase in FLR, even though indications are not clear yet. Between January and December 2012, eight patients were candidates to ALPPS at the Hepatobiliary Surgery Unit of San Raffaele Hospital, Milan. The first three patients (Series 1) underwent right trisectionectomy and were affected by tumors infiltrating biliary confluence, while the others (Series 2) were candidates to right hepatectomy for colorectal liver metastases. Two patients were then excluded from Series 2 because intraoperative finding of irresectable disease. Intra- and postoperative outcome was evaluated with the aim of defining indications to ALPPS. All patients reached an adequate FLR after a median of 7.5 days from the first procedure (rate of program completion 100 %). In Series 1 two patients developed complications related to bile leakage from the raw surface of the liver to be resected and septic events secondary to ischemic necrosis of the liver segment IV. One patient died following multi-organ failure secondary to sepsis. In Series 2 postoperative course was uneventful in all the patients, and in particular no patient showed disease progression between the two procedures or signs of postoperative liver failure. ALPPS approach was initially considered suitable for patients affected by Klatskin tumors who require, despite a small tumor volume, extended hepatectomies associated with surgery of the biliary tract: the analysis of this first series of patients has led to a re-evaluation of the indication to this strategy, as a consequence of encountered criticisms. Actually only a subset of patients affected by colorectal liver metastases are candidates to ALPPS.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Colorectal Neoplasms / pathology
  • Female
  • Hepatectomy / methods*
  • Humans
  • Liver / pathology
  • Liver Neoplasms / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver Neoplasms / secondary
  • Liver Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Lymph Node Excision
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Organ Size
  • Patient Selection
  • Portal Vein / surgery*
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed