The Role of the Ultrasonically Activated Shears and Vascular Cutting Stapler in Hepatic Resection

Wrightson, William R.; Edwards, Michael J.; McMasters, Kelly M.
November 2000
American Surgeon;Nov2000, Vol. 66 Issue 11, p1037
Academic Journal
Hemorrhage and liver failure are the two greatest concerns for patients undergoing major liver resection. Inflow occlusion (Pringle maneuver) is often used to minimize blood loss, but hepatic ischemia results in an increased risk of postoperative hepatic dysfunction. We report our experience with the Harmonic Scalpel ultrasonically activated shears (UAS; Ethicon Endo-Surgery, Cincinnati, OH) and a vascular stapler for hepatic resection as technological advances that aid in minimizing blood loss and thereby reduce the need for inflow occlusion. We retrospectively reviewed liver resections performed from September 1997 through July 1998, in which the UAS and articulating vascular endoscopic linear cutting stapler were used. The vascular stapler was used to divide the appropriate portal vein branch and hepatic vein(s) before parenchymal transection. Parenchymal dissection was performed with UAS to a depth of approximately 2 to 3 cm, and the remainder of the liver parenchyma was divided by a clamp crush and clip and suture ligate technique. Patients underwent segmental resection (n = 12), lobectomy (n = 13), or extended lobectomy (n = 11). Resection was performed for metastatic disease, primary liver tumors, or benign disease in 21, 8, and 7 patients, respectively. A Pringle maneuver was performed in 7 of 36 patients (mean clamp time, 8 minutes). The median required intraoperative blood transfusion was 0 units of packed red blood cells. Major and minor complications occurred in 12 and 3 patients, respectively. Two deaths were related to pneumonia and abdominal infection. The vascular stapler safely and securely divides portal vein branches and hepatic veins. The UAS initiates parenchymal transection with minimal blood loss. These two technologies facilitate the surgeon's aim of liver resection without blood transfusion or Pringle maneuver.


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