Morbidity and mortality of hepatic resection for metastatic colorectal carcinoma

John T. Vetto, Kevin S. Hughes, Rebecca Rosenstein, Paul H. Sugarbaker

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

35 Scopus citations


Hepatic resection is the only curative therapy currently available for colorectal cancer metastases to the liver. However, concern over high morbidity and mortality of the procedure has limited referral of patients for resection. The authors report on 58 patients undergoing hepatic resection for colorectal metastases at the National Cancer Institute between the years 1976 and 1985. Thirty-two patients underwent a major hepatic resection, and 26 patients underwent one or more wedge resections. Mean anesthesia time was 448 minutes, mean estimated blood loss was 3663 ml, and mean hospital stay was 17.5 days. Operative mortality was 3 percent, and morbidity was 62 percent. Using a grading scale for complications, 24 percent of patients had inconsequential complications, 16 percent had moderate complications, and 19 percent had severe complications. Complications were clearly related to extent of procedure. Factors that correlated best with morbidity were high blood loss and trisegmentectomy. The authors conclude that while hepatic resection can carry a high morbidity, much of this morbidity is minor and operative mortality is low. Recent improvements in anesthesia, improved resection technique, and a better understanding of hepatic anatomy have made possible correspondingly lower morbidity and mortality rates. Careful selection of patients can make hepatic resection a safe procedure.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)408-413
Number of pages6
JournalDiseases of the Colon & Rectum
Issue number5
StatePublished - May 1990
Externally publishedYes


  • Hepatic metastases
  • Liver neoplasms
  • Liver resection
  • Morbidity

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Gastroenterology


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