Small for size liver remnant following resection: prevention and management

Rony Eshkenazy, Yael Dreznik, Eylon Lahat, Barak Bar Zakai, Alex Zendel, Arie Ariche


In the latest decades an important change was registered in liver surgery, however the management of liver cirrhosis or small size hepatic remnant still remains a challenge. Currently posthepatectomy liver failure (PLF) is the major cause of death after liver resection often associated with sepsis and ischemia-reperfusion injury (IRI). ‘‘Small-for-size’’ syndrome (SFSS) and PFL have similar mechanism presenting reduction of liver mass and portal hyper flow beyond a certain threshold. Few methods are described to prevent both syndromes, in the preoperative, perioperative and postoperative stages. Additionally to portal vein embolization (PVE), radiological examinations (mainly CT and/or MRI), and more recently 3D computed tomography are fundamental to quantify the liver volume (LV) at a preoperative stage. During surgery, in order to limit parenchymal damage and optimize regenerative capacity, some hepatoprotective measures may be employed, among them: intermittent portal clamping and hypothermic liver preservation. Regarding the treatment, since PLF is a quite complex disease, it is required a multi-disciplinary approach, where it management must be undertaken in conjunction with critical care, hepatology, microbiology and radiology services. The size of the liver cannot be considered the main variable in the development of liver dysfunction after extended hepatectomies. Additional characteristics should be taken into account, such as: the future liver remnant; the portal blood flow and pressure and the exploration of the potential effects of regeneration preconditioning are all promising strategies that could help to expand the indications and increase the safety of liver surgery.