Objective: The authors describe the technique of staging laparoscopy with laparoscopic contact ultrasonography in the preoperative assessment of patients with liver tumors, and assess its impact on the selection of patients for hepatic resection with curative intent.
Summary background data: Laparoscopy may be useful in the selection of patients with a variety of intra-abdominal malignancies for operative intervention. Laparoscopic ultrasonography is a new technique that combines the principles of high resolution intraoperative contact ultrasound with those of the laparoscopic examination, and thus, allows the laparoscopist to perform detailed assessment of the liver.
Methods: This study analyzes a cohort of 50 consecutive patients who were diagnosed as having potentially resectable liver tumors, and in whom staging laparoscopy was successfully undertaken. Laparoscopic ultrasonography was performed in 43 patients, and the impact of the ensuing findings on the decision to proceed to operative assessment of resectability is examined. The resectability rate in those patients assessed laparoscopically and subsequently submitted to laparotomy is compared with a preceding group of patients in whom no laparoscopic assessment was performed.
Results: Laparoscopy demonstrated factors precluding curative resection in 23 patients (46%). Laparoscopic ultrasonography identified liver tumors not visible during laparoscopy in 14 patients (33%), and provided staging information in addition to that derived from laparoscopy alone in 18/43 patients (42%). The resectability rate was significantly higher among those patients undergoing laparoscopic staging (93%) compared with those in whom operative assessment was undertaken without laparoscopy (58%).
Conclusions: Staging laparoscopy with laparoscopic ultrasonography optimizes patient selection for liver resection with curative intent.