Nonoperative management of blunt hepatic trauma in adults

Surgery. 1988 Oct;104(4):748-56.


Although well accepted in pediatric patients, nonoperative management of blunt hepatic trauma in adults remains controversial. From January 1981 through May 1987, 66 adults were identified with blunt hepatic trauma that had been confirmed by abdominal exploration or abdominal computed tomography (CT): 46 underwent immediate operation, and 20 were initially managed nonoperatively. Patients were considered for nonoperative management only if they were hemodynamically stable and had no significant peritoneal irritation. CT criteria for nonoperative management included contained subcapsular or intrahepatic hematoma, unilobar fracture, absence of devitalized liver, minimal intraperitoneal blood, and absence of other significant intra-abdominal organ injuries. The predominant CT pattern in the 17 patients successfully managed nonoperatively included unilobar right-lobe fracture or intrahepatic hematoma. A small amount of blood in either gutter or in the pelvis did not portend failure of nonoperative management. No delayed complications were noted during an average follow-up of 27 months. Nonoperative management of blunt hepatic injury based on abdominal CT findings is a useful alternative in a select group of hemodynamically stable patients.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Accidents, Traffic
  • Adolescent
  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Aged, 80 and over
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver / diagnostic imaging
  • Liver / injuries*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / diagnostic imaging
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / surgery
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / therapy*