Postoperative complications represent one of the most debated topics in pancreatic surgery. Indeed, the rate of complications following pancreatectomy is among the highest in abdominal surgery, with morbidity ranging between 30 and 60%. They are often characterized by elevated clinical burden, with a consequent challenging postoperative management. Mortality rates can exceed 5%. The impact on patient recovery and hospital stay eventually leads to massive utilization of resources and increases costs for the health system. The International Study Group of Pancreatic Surgery (ISGPS) provides standardized definitions and clinically based classifications for the most common complications after pancreatectomy, including postoperative pancreatic fistula (POPF), post pancreatectomy hemorrhage (PPH), delayed gastric emptying (DGE), bile leakage, and chyle leak.
Post Pancreatectomy Hemorrhage
Despite its lower incidence compared with POPF with reported rates of 3–10% after pancreatectomy, PPH remains one of the major of postoperative complications, with mortality rates ranging from 30 to 50%. According to current ISGPS recommendations, PPH is classified in three grades (A, B, and C) based on two main criteria: timing of the hemorrhage and severity of the bleeding. The timing is dichotomized as early, occurring within 24 hours from the index surgery, and late, when it happens afterwards.
Management is tailored according to the clinical picture, the timing of onset, and the presumptive location. Early hemorrhage is generally due to either unsuccessful intraoperative hemostasis or to an underlying coagulopathy. The vast majority of patients are basically asymptomatic, with PPH having no influence on the postoperative course. However, when the bleeding is severe, re-laparotomy is recommended, with the aim of finding and controlling the source of bleeding. This approach usually guarantees an uneventful subsequent course. Late PPH is often challenging and the pathogenesis is diverse. Vascular erosion secondary to POPF or intraabdominal abscess, late failure of intraoperative hemostatic devices, arterial pseudoaneurysm, and intraluminal ulceration are some of the most common causes. In this setting, surgical access to the source of bleeding may be challenging. Angiography (if extraluminal) and endoscopy (if intraluminal) represent the primary approaches to treatment. Surgery is reserved for hemodynamically unstable patients and for those who present with deteriorating condition, multiorgan failure or sepsis. Given these assumptions, except for early mild events, contrast-enhanced abdominal CT is crucial in all cases of PPH, possibly allowing identification of the source and planning the management accordingly. Also, it should be noted that late massive hemorrhages may be preceded by mild self-limiting sentinel bleeds. A prompt abdominal CT scan aimed at excluding vascular lesions is therefore strongly recommended in these cases.
The incidence of complications following pancreatic resection remains high. The ISGPS established standardized definitions and clinical grading systems for POPF, PPH, DGE, and biliary and chyle leak. These classification systems have enabled unbiased comparisons of intraoperative techniques and management decisions. However, the management policies of these complications are most often driven by a patient’s condition and local surgical expertise and is not always based on the available high-level evidence. The development of high-volume specialized units with appropriate resources and multidisciplinary experience in complication management might further improve the evidence and the outcomes.
Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is considered the gold standard for treatment of benign gallbladder diseases. Cholecystectomy using this method can be completed in 90% of elective cholecystectomies and 70% of emergency cholecystectomies. Acute cholecystitis, especially if difficult, can change the above paradigm, resulting in open conversion or change of technique. The conditions that define a difficult cholecystectomy are as follows: necessity of conversion from laparoscopic to open surgery; duration of procedure greater than 180 min; blood loss greater than 300 ml; and urgent need for involvement of a more experienced surgeon. One of the “rescue” procedures to complete the surgery safely (both for the surgeons and patients) is subtotal cholecystectomy (STC). Open and laparoscopic subtotal cholecystectomy have been reported. For many surgeons, this is considered a bail out technique, and the timing of decision making is crucial to avoid catastrophic complications. Te capability to perform STC in laparoscopy is increasingly requested during difficult laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Difficult LC has a risk of BDI from 3 to 5 times higher in laparoscopy than open surgery. In case of operative difficulties of young surgeons mostly trained in laparoscopy the help of senior surgeons is strongly recommended. The purpose of the present study is to clarify how laparoscopic subtotal cholecystectomy may be used to complete a difficult cholecystectomy for acute cholecystitis without serious complications.
Biliary leakage represents the most frequent complication of incomplete resection of the gallbladder wall in cases of difficult acute cholecystectomy treated with subtotal cholecystectomy. This complication is rarely fatal but requires correct treatment. If bile leakage does not stop spontaneously seven days postoperatively, the possible treatments are endoscopic biliary sphincterotomy, endoscopic plastic stent, and a fully covered self-expanding metal stent. When performing closure of the gallbladder stump, suturing the anterior residual of both anterior and posterior wall represents the best method to have fewer complications. Complications, if not lethal, decrease the patient’s quality of life. Intraoperatively, it is of utmost importance to carefully expose the gallbladder stump to avoid left-in-place stones, wash the entire cavity and drain the abdomen. Bile duct injuries can be a significant complication in this type of surgery. Prevention of the lesions with conversion from laparoscopic to open, or the opinion of older surgeon in case of difficulties is strongly recommended. Mortality is a very rare complication. The limitations of our study are given by the heterogeneity of the techniques used for LSC and the lack of a long-term follow-up analyzing the related complications.
Once the decision for surgery has been made, an operative plan needs to be discussed and implemented. Should one initially start with laparoscopic surgery for the “bad gallbladder”? If a laparoscopic approach is taken, when should bail-out maneuvers be attempted? Is converting to open operation still the standard next step? A 2016 study published by Ashfaq and colleagues sheds some light on our first question. They studied 2212 patients who underwent laparoscopic cholecystectomy, of which 351 were considered “difficult gallbladders.” A difficult gallbladder was considered one that was necrotic or gangrenous, involved Mirizzi syndrome, had extensive adhesions, was converted to open, lasted more than 120 minutes, had a prior tube cholecystostomy, or had known gallbladder perforation. Seventy of these 351 operations were converted to open. The indications for conversion included severe inflammation and adhesions around the gallbladder rendering dissection of triangle of Calot difficult (n 5 37 [11.1%]), altered anatomy (n 5 14 [4.2%]), and intraoperative bleeding that was difficult to control laparoscopically (n 5 6 [1.8%]). The remaining 13 patients (18.5%) included a combination of cholecystoenteric fistula, concern for malignancy, common bile duct exploration for stones, and inadvertent enterotomy requiring small bowel repair. Comparing the total laparoscopic cholecystectomy group and the conversion groups, operative time and length of hospital stay were significantly different; 147 +- 47 minutes versus 185 +- 71 minutes (P<.005) and 3+-2 days versus 5+-3 days (P 5 .011), respectively. There was no significant difference in postoperative hemorrhage, subhepatic collection, cystic duct leak, wound infection, reoperation, and 30-day mortality.2 From these findings, we can glean that most cholecystectomies should be started laparoscopically, because it is safe to do so. It is the authors’ practice to start laparoscopically in all cases.
Despite the best efforts of experienced surgeons, it is sometimes impossible to safely obtain the critical view of safety in a bad gallbladder with dense inflammation and even scarring in the hepatocystic triangle. Continued attempts to dissect in this hazardous region can lead to devastating injury, including transection of 1 or both hepatic ducts, the common bile duct, and/or a major vascular injury (usually the right hepatic artery). Therefore, it is imperative that any surgeon faced with a bad gallbladder have a toolkit of procedures to safely terminate the operation while obtaining maximum symptom and source control, rather than continue to plunge blindly into treacherous terrain. If the critical view of safety cannot be achieved owing to inflammation, and when further dissection in the hepatocystic triangle is dangerous, these authors default to laparoscopic subtotal cholecystectomy as our bail-out procedure of choice. The rationale for this approach is that it resolves symptoms by removing the majority of the gallbladder, leading to low (although not zero) rates of recurrent symptoms. It is safe, and can be easily completed laparoscopically, thus avoiding the longer hospital stay and morbidity of an open operation. There is now significant data supporting this approach. In a series of 168 patients (of whom 153 were laparoscopic) who underwent subtotal cholecystectomy for bad gallbladders, the mean operative time was 150 minutes (range, 70–315 minutes) and the average blood loss was 170 mL (range, 50–1500 mL). The median length of stay for these patients was 4 days (range, 1–68 days), and there were no common bile duct injuries.23 There were 12 postoperative collections (7.1%), 4 wound infections (2.4%), 1 bile leak (0.6%), and 7 retained stones (4.2%), but the 30-day mortality was similar to those who underwent a total laparoscopic cholecystectomy. A systematic review and meta-analysis by Elshaer and colleagues showed that subtotal cholecystectomy achieves comparable morbidity rates compared with total cholecystectomy. These data support the idea that we should move away from the idea that the only acceptable outcome for a cholecystectomy is the complete removal of a gallbladder, especially when it is not safe to do so. This shift toward subtotal cholecystectomy has been appropriately referred to as the safety first, total cholecystectomy second approach.
The gold standard for the surgical treatment of symptomatic cholelithiasis is conventional laparoscopic cholecystectomy (LC). The “difficult gallbladder” is a scenario in which a cholecystectomy turns into an increased surgical risk compared with standard cholecystectomy. The procedure may be difficult due to processes that either obscure normal biliary anatomy (such as acute or chronic inflammation) or operative exposure (obesity or adhesions caused by prior upper abdominal surgery). So, when confronted with a difficult cholecystectomy, the surgeon has a must: to turn the operation into a safe cholecystectomy, which can mean conversion (to an open procedure), cholecystostomy, or partial/ subtotal cholecystectomy. The surgeon should understand that needs to rely on damage control, to prevent more serious complications if choosing to advance and progress to a complete cholecystectomy.
When to Predict a Difficult Laparoscopic Cholecystectomy
A difficult cholecystectomy may be predicted preoperatively based on patient characteristics and ultrasound and laboratory findings. This is probably a very important step in mitigating the high risk associated with a difficult procedure and may serve either to reschedule the procedure or design intraoperative strategies of management to guarantee a safe performance of the surgical procedure.
The following situations are associated with a higher chance of a difficult cholecystectomy:
• Acute cholecystitis (more than 5 days of onset)
• Previous cholecystitis episode
• Male sex
• Sclero-atrophic gallbladder
• Thick walls (>5 mm)
• Previous signs of canalicular dwelling (clinical and laboratory)
Through multivariate analysis, Bourgoin identified these elements of predictive help to identify difficult LC: male sex, previous cholecystitis attack, fibrinogen, neutrophil, and alkaline phosphatase levels. Another important point is the fact of conversion from a laparoscopic procedure to an open and traditional cholecystectomy, usually through a right subcostal incision. Conversion should not be considered as a personal failure, and the surgeon needs to understand the concept of “safety first,” considering that conversion is performed in order to complete the procedure without additional risks and preventing complications and not solving intraoperative complications. It is also useful to define a time threshold to aid in the decision to convert. It is not worth taking an hour and a half and still dissecting adhesions, preventing the correct visualization of the cystic pedicle. This time limit represents a method to prevent inefficiencies in the operating room (OR) schedule as well as additional expenditures.
A smart surgeon should rely to conversion in the following situations:
• Lack of progress in the procedure
• Unclear anatomy/any grade of uncertainty
• CVS not achieved
• Bleeding/vascular injury
• BD injury
• Lack of infrastructure, expertise, and support
The primary goal of a laparoscopic cholecystectomy in the treatment of symptomatic cholelithiasis is the safe remotion of the gallbladder and the absence of common bile duct injury. Some tips to take into account:
– Never perform a laparoscopic cholecystectomy without a skilled surgeon close by.
– Beware of the easy gallbladder.
– Slow down, take your time.
– Knowledge is power, conversión can be the salvation!
– Do not repair a bile duct injury (unless you have performed at least 25 hepaticojejunostomies).
– Do not ignore postoperative complaints (pain, jaundice, major abdominal discomfort, fever)
Other options when confronted with a difficult laparoscopic cholecystectomy are:
– A percutaneous cholecystostomy, if the risk was identified preoperatively or the patient is a poor surgical candidate;
– An intraoperative cholangiography, which may aid in identifying an injury to the bile duct and solve it, if you are an experienced surgeon;
– A subtotal or partial cholecystectomy;
– Ask for help;
– Conversion to an open procedure;
Donor Evaluation and Management
There are very few absolute contraindications for abdominal organ donation, which can be summarized in the short form CHUMP: (1) Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, (2) active HIV infection, (3) uncontrolled donor sepsis, (4) history of melanoma or other malignancy that poses a risk for transmission regardless of the apparent disease – free period, and (5) past history of non-curable malignancy (curable malignancy such as localized small kidney tumors, localized prostate cancer, localized colon malignancy >5 years previously may be considered after careful risk/benefit assessment). In addition to these general criteria, there are organ-specific criteria for guiding the acceptance of a liver for transplantation. A history of hepatitis or alcoholism is certainly a warning sign, but both livers from HBsAg-positive and/or HCV-positive donors are currently used worldwide, and suitability for transplant must be judged on a case-by-case basis. In general, in the case of a marginal liver donor, the intraoperative assessment by the donor surgeon, in addition to liver biopsy pathological evaluation, is the best single piece of information.
Technical Aspects of Liver Procurement
A midline laparotomy from the xyphoid to the pubis is performed and the round ligament divided. The intra-abdominal organs are explored to check for eventual malignancies, and the quality of the liver is assessed: in the absence of contraindications for a transplant, a sternotomy can be performed. Of note, in the presence of prior heart surgery, the complete warm dissection should be made prior to the sternotomy. It is also prudential to isolate and encircle the aorta prior to sternotomy in order to be ready to cannulate in the event of cardiac arrest/injury at thoracotomy. A blunt dissection behind the sternum just below the jugular notch should be performed until the fingertip can be placed retrosternal around the jugular notch. The sternotomy is then performed in a cranial to caudal direction with the sternum saw to avoid left innominate vein injury. The division of the left triangular ligament allows the mobilization of the left lateral segments of the liver and the exposure of the supraceliac aorta just below the diaphragm to be encircled. The division of the falciform ligament up to the suprahepatic inferior vena cava (IVC) provides more mobility of the liver, necessary when the IVC must be divided from a cardiac graft. Before starting the dissection of the hepatoduodenal ligament, the hepatogastric ligament must be inspected by dividing the lesser omentum. This ligament is usually very thin and transparent so that any replaced or accessory left hepatic artery should be easily visible. In addition, palpation of the ventral border of the foramen of Winslow makes it possible to identify a possible accessory or replaced right hepatic artery. Variations in the hepatic arterial supply can complicate the hilar dissection in up to one third of donors.
THE HILAR STRUCTURES
The hilar structures of the liver are then dissected free; the common bile duct (CBD) is dissected on the level of the edge of the second duodenal portion after opening of the peritoneum and visualization of the duct. In difficult cases, due to a high BMI, following the cystic duct out of the gall bladder can help to identify the CBD. The CBD should be encircled from the lateral border of the hepatoduodenal ligament in order to avoid injury of the portal vein. The CBD and the gallbladder are opened and flushed with normosaline solution. The origins of the gastroduodenal, gastric, and splenic arteries are then identified and encircled and, in the case of liver only procurement, will be taped just before cross-clamping in order to increase flushing through the hepatic artery to the liver.
VASCULAR CANULATION / SOLUTION PRESERVATION
The aorta can be isolated by two approaches. One approach requires mobilization of the right colon on top of Gerota’s fascia and should be extended into a Kocher maneuver to uncover both the inferior vena cava and the abdominal aorta; the other approach is performed by opening the root of the mesentery from the Treitz fascia, along the margin of the duodenum until visualization of the right iliac vessels and ureter is achieved. The inferior mesenteric artery can be tied and divided, and the abdominal aorta, just 2–3 cm above the bifurcation, isolated and encircled. The lumbar arteries could be either tied or clipped and then cut in order to provide mobility of the aorta and facilitate the cannulation. Two umbilical tapes are placed around the dissected segment of the aorta and secured by clamps and will be used to secure aortic cannulae to the vessel. The inferior mesenteric vein (IMV) is most commonly used for access into the portal system by ligating the distal part of it but leaving it uncut to retract the vein with a mosquito clamp. Another tie is then placed around the cranial portion of the vein, using it for occlusion of the vein by retracting it while a partial incision of the vein is performed. The portal cannula can be inserted into the IMV while the tension of the occluding tie is decreased before tying it around the vein and inserted cannula. At this point, 30,000-IU heparin should be given to prevent the blood from clotting after the cross-clamping. Once these preliminary procedures have been completed, the aortic cannulae (20-F armed cannulae) can be inserted into the distal abdominal aorta and secured with the umbilical tapes.
The subdiaphragmatic aorta is now clamped (cross-clamp), and cold preservation solution is then rapidly infused through the aortic and portal cannulae; the liver flow is decompressed by dividing the inferior vena cava in the chest. The abdomen is filled with water and ice. The choice of solution for infusion and its amount varies from center to center. The quality of the flush can be assessed by evaluating the outflow of the supradiaphragmatic IVC which should become more transparent with time as the blood in the abdominal organs is replaced by the preservation solution. After the flush is completed, some of the ice is removed from the abdomen to allow the cold dissection of the structures. The gastroduodenal, gastric, and splenic arteries can now be divided. Just below the gastroduodenal artery, the portal vein can be found and can be followed back, if pancreas procurement is not performed, by dividing the head of the pancreas. The cannulae in the IMV can now be removed, the splenic vein ligated and divided, and the venous cannulae replaced in the superior mesenteric vein once it is divided from its distal branches. The superior mesenteric artery (SMA) can now be found in the retro-pancreatic laminae and should be ligated, secured to a clamp and divided in order to find the aortic plane by following back the SMA. This dissection must be made on the left side of the SMA in order to avoid damage to a possible replaced or accessory right hepatic artery. The renal arteries are usually just below the SMA. They should be visualized before the suprarenal aorta is divided. This section must be made in 45°, first looking for ostia of accessory renal arteries before performing complete separation of the aorta. By following back the splenic and gastric arteries, the celiac trunk can be visualized. The aorta must now be divided just below the diaphragm, obtaining a patch containing the celiac trunk and the origin of the mesenteric artery. At this time point, a finger is placed in the supradiaphragmatic IVC helping to identify it while the diaphragm is cut. A portion of the diaphragm should be kept with the liver to ensure that this gross and fast dissection does not damage the organ. The diaphragm is cut to the right, and the incision is then continued between the right kidney and the liver, usually dividing the adrenal gland which is a good sign that none of the adjacent organs are damaged. The location for division of the infrahepatic IVC depends on the renal veins. These are identified on both sides, and the IVC can be safely divided on the virtual line about 1 cm above the renal veins. The only structures now holding the liver in the abdomen are the diaphragmatic pillars. By keeping the liver to the right thoracic cavity and holding the aortic patch, the resected IVC, and the portal vein with its cannulae, the liver removal can be completed by cutting the diaphragmatic muscles. The liver is freed and taken out of the abdomen. A further perfusion with cool preservation solution should be performed on the back table before packing the liver in the transportation box usually with 1 l of preservation solution. The liver can now be packed in the transportation box.
The liver is the biggest intestinal organ and plays a central role in the homeostasis of different physiological systems including nutrition and drug metabolism, the synthesis of plasma proteins and haemostatic factors, as well as the elimination of different endogenous and exogenous substances. Although the liver contributes with only 3% to total body weight, given its major role in homeostasis and high energy consumption, it receives 25% of total cardiac output (CO). Two vessels contribute to the perfusion of the liver. The majority (70%) of the hepatic perfusion is provided by the portal vein, which contributes 50% of the organ’s oxygen demand. The other 50% is provided by the hepatic artery, which makes up around 30% of total liver perfusion. Hepatic arterial blood flow is mainly dependent on the organ’s metabolic demands and controlled via autoregulatory mechanisms, whereas blood supply through the portal vein depends on the perfusion throughout the whole gastrointestinal tract and the spleen. This unique, dual perfusion system provides constant perfusion rates and oxygen supply, which is crucial for adequate liver function. These high oxygen demands are reflected in a hepatic vein saturation of almost 30%.
The liver is also unique in its ability of regeneration, which allows the performance of major surgery including, amongst others, extended resections of liver tumours, living donations and so on. Many patients have normal liver function parameters when they present for liver surgery, especially when the reason for resection is metastasis or a benign liver tumour. The most common causes of liver resections are the hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) and the cholangiocellular carcinoma (CCC). Hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) often develops in patients with underlying liver cirrhosis; many of these patients show signs of chronic liver dysfunction (CLD).
As explained previously, the liver plays a central role in a great deal of physiological systems. Therefore, in case of chronic liver dysfunction (CLD) or liver failure, several effects on other organ systems have to be expected. Consequently liver resections and bile duct surgery as having a high risk for perioperative cardiac events, with an estimated 30-day cardiac event rate (cardiac death and myocardial infarction) of more than 5%. Patients undergoing liver surgery pose a significant challenge to treating physicians in the perioperative period. Due to the improvement of surgical techniques, the “liver patient” is becoming more and more complex, confronting surgeons, anaesthetists and intensive care personnel with difficult intra- and postoperative courses, and considerable multiorgan disorders. The cornerstones of an optimal management are careful selection of the patients, appropriate monitoring and protection of the liver and other vital organs.
Attributes of a Good Surgeon
Realising the benefits that good leadership and teamwork can deliver requires commitment from all those involved in patient care. From the surgeon’s viewpoint there are numerous desirable attributes which are developed through medical school education, foundation training, core training and into professional practice. These are outlined below:
1. Clinical Care
An obvious consideration of what makes a “good surgeon” is the care provided to patients throughout the patient journey. This includes technical ability in the operating theatre and non-technical skills.
2. Maintenance and Improvement
Remaining up-to-date with innovations in surgical practice and patient are is an important attribute of a good surgeon. In doing so, one is able to inform patients and explain the reasons for and against procedures, allowing them to make an informed decision. Willingness to learn from others and improve from others by reviewing personal practice forms part of Continuing Professional Development; this is a requirement in a portfolio to meet revalidation and recertification criteria.
3. Teaching, Training and Supervision
Educating others forms part of professional development and surgeons frequently oversee projects for medical students or trainees. This requires knowledge of the objectives of the tasks undertaken, knowledge of what technical and non-technical skills should be improved and knowledge of how to encourage the development of these skills. The mentormentee relationship should work both ways, such that the mentee is able to approach their supervisor for assistance and is accepting of any constructive criticism delivered.
4. Relationships with Patients
Relationships with patients are fundamentally based on trust; the patient trusts that the surgeon will do all in their power to help them and their surgical journey. Obtaining informed consent prior to clinical care is based on trust and allows patient autonomy to be upheld. Developing relationships with patients begins from the first consultation and is continued after the day of an operation being undertaken. Acknowledging the needs of the individual and employing effective communication helps in developing an open relationship. In this way patients disclose their medical history and admit underlying fears, allowing better patient care to be delivered.
5. Relationships with Colleagues
Partnership with all members of the multidisciplinary clinical team, management, technicians and support staff fosters healthy working relationships. Consequently, patient care is enhanced through communication, enhanced productivity and an improved team dynamic. Understanding how a colleague works and taking action to facilitate a positive working environment is beneficial to all. Emotional intelligence forms an important component of working relationships, through the ability “to understand and recognize emotional states and to use that understanding to manage one’s self and other individuals or teams”.
Maintenance of good personal health and knowing when you must stop working is important in the protection of patient safety. The relevant senior staff must be informed of communicable disease or blood-borne disease transmission. In addition, being vigilant of the health of colleagues forms part of protecting patient safety, for example, failure to report suspicion that the consultant consistently operates after several glasses of wine or that the CT2 has been seen smoking drugs can facilitate the propagation of errors in the workplace. Finally, surgeons are renowned for working at all hours, however acknowledgement that we all need rest is crucial in good patient care.
SURGERY, A NOBLE PROFESSION
Surgery is, indeed, one of the noblest of professions. Here is how Dictionary defines the word noble: 1) possessing outstanding qualities such as eminence, dignity; 2) having power of transmitting by inheritance; 3) indicating superiority or commanding excellence of mind, character, or high ideals or morals. These three attributes befit the profession of surgery. Over centuries, the surgical profession has set the standards of ethical and humane practice. Surgeons have made magnificent contributions in education, clinical care, and science. Their landmark accomplishments in surgical science and innovations in operative technique have revolutionized surgical care, saved countless lives, and significantly improved longevity and the quality of human life. Generations of surgeons have developed their craft and passed it on to succeeding generations, as they have to me and to each one of you, to take into the future.
Beyond its scientific and technical contributions, surgery is uniquely fulfilling as a profession. It has disciplined itself over the centuries and dedicated its practice to the best welfare of all human beings. In return, it has been accorded the respect of society, of other professions, and of policy makers. Its conservative stance has served it well and has been the reason for its constancy and consistency. At the beginning of the 21st century, however, profound changes are taking place at all levels and at a dizzying pace, providing both challenges and opportunities to the surgical profession. These changes are occurring on a global level, on the national level, in science and technology, in healthcare, and in surgical education and practice.
To retain its leadership position in innovation and its attractiveness as a career choice for students, surgery must evolve with the times. It is my belief that surgery needs to introduce changes to create new priorities in clinical practice, education, and research; to increase the morale and prestige of surgeons; and to preserve general surgery as a profession. I am reminded of a Chinese aphorism that says, “You cannot prevent the birds of unhappiness from flying over your head, but you can prevent them from building a nest in your hair.”
ADVANCES IN SCIENCE
The coalescence of major advances in science and technology made the end of the 20th century unique in human history. Notable among the achievements are the development of microchips and miniaturization, which fueled the explosion in information technology. The structure of the human genome is nearly completely elucidated, ushering in the genomic era in which genetic information will be used to predict, on an individual basis, susceptibility to disease and responsiveness to drug therapy. The field of nanotechnology allows scientists to work at a resolution of less than one nanometer, the size of the atom. By comparison, the DNA molecule is 2.5 nanometers.
In the last 50 years, biomedical research became increasingly reductionist, turning physiologists and anatomists into molecular biologists. As a result, two basic science fields—integrative physiology and gross anatomy—now have a lower standing in medical education and surgical science than they once did. Surgery and surgical departments can and possibly should claim these fields, but the window of opportunity is narrow. Research is now moving back from discipline-based reductionist science to multidisciplinary science of complexity, in which biomedical scientists work side by side with engineers, mathematicians, and bioinformatists. The ability of high-speed computers to quickly process tens of millions of pieces of data now allows for data-driven rather than hypothesis-based research. This collaboration among different disciplines has already been successful.
TRANSFORMATION OF HEALTHCARE SYSTEM
During the past 75 years, we have seen the entire healthcare system undergo a profound transformation. In the 1930s and for a considerable period thereafter, medical practice was fee-for-service, the doctor–patient relationship was strong, and the physician perceived himself or herself as being responsible nearly exclusively to his or her individual patients. The texture of medical practice started to change when the federal government became involved in the provision of healthcare in 1965. The committee on “Crossing the Quality Chasm” identified six key attributes of the 21st-century healthcare system. It must be:
- Safe, avoiding injuries to patients;
- Effective, providing services based on scientific knowledge;
- Patient-oriented, respectful of and responsive to individual patients’ needs, values, and preferences;
- Timely, reducing waits, eliminating harmful delays for both care receiver and caregiver;
- Efficient, avoiding wasted equipment, supplies, ideas, and energy;
- Equitable, providing equal care across genders, ethnicities, geographic locations, and socioeconomic strata;
No one knows at present what this 21st-century healthcare system will look like. While care in the old system was reactive, in the new system it will be proactive. The “find it, fix it” approach of the old system will be replaced by a “predict it, prevent it, and if you cannot prevent it, fix it” approach. Sporadic intervention, provided only when patients present with illness, will give way to a system in which physicians and other healthcare providers plan 1-, 5-, and 10-year care programs for each patient. Care will be more interactive, with patients taking a more important role in their own care. The technology-oriented system will become a system that provides graded intervention. Delivery systems will not be fractionated but integrated. Even more importantly, care will not be based simply on experience and clinical impression but on evidence of proven outcome measures. If the old system was cost-insensitive, the new system will be cost-sensitive.
There are many reasons for the declining interest in general surgery, some of which parallel reasons for the drop in medical school applicants in general. One problem specific to surgery is that medical students are given less and less exposure to surgery, due to the shortening of required surgical rotations. Most important, however, is their perception that the life of the surgical resident is stressful, the work hours too long, and the time for personal and family needs inadequate. The workload of the surgical resident over the years has increased significantly both in amount and intensity, without concomitant increase in the number of residents and at a time when hospitals have significantly reduced the support personnel on the surgical ward and in the operating rooms. Students graduating with debts close to $100,000 simply find the years of training in surgery too long, followed by uncertain practice income after graduation.
From several recent studies, lifestyle is the critical and most pressing issue in surgical residency. Some studies have also shown that the best students tend to select specialties that provide controllable lifestyles, such as radiology, dermatology, and ophthalmology. We have a problem not only in the declining number of students applying for surgical training but also in the declining quality of those who do apply. In a preliminary survey of 153 responding general surgery programs, we found that attrition (i.e., categorical residents leaving the training programs) occurred at a rate of 13% to 19% in the last 5 years. In 2001, 46% of those leaving general surgery training programs cited lifestyle as the major reason.
Unless these trends are reversed, general surgery as a specialty is threatened, and a future shortage of general surgeons is inevitable. I know that the Council of the American Surgical Association is most concerned about the crisis in general surgery. We must do a better job of communicating to students and residents that the practice of surgery is as rewarding as ever and full of opportunities in this new era. Innovations in minimal access and computer-assisted surgery and simulation technology provide exciting new possibilities in surgical training. We must also look very carefully at the demands of surgical residency and improve the life of residents without compromising their surgical experience. Unless we deal with work hours and quality of life issues, we are likely to see continuing decline in the interest of medical students in surgical training.
In conclusion, the noble profession of surgery must rise to meet numerous challenges as the world in which it operates continues to undergo profound change. These challenges represent opportunities for the profession to develop an international perspective and a global outreach and to address the growing needs of an aging population undergoing major demographic and workforce shifts. The leadership of American surgery has a unique role to play in the formulation of a new healthcare system for the 21st century. This task will require commitment to quality of care and patient safety, and it will depend on harnessing the trust and support of the American public. Advances in science and technology—particularly in minimal access surgery, robotics, and simulation technology—provide unprecedented opportunity for surgeons to continue to make landmark contributions that will improve surgical care and the human condition. I believe it is also crucially important that we train surgeon-scientists who will keep surgery at the cutting edge in the genomic and bioinformatics era. Ours is a noble profession imbued with eminence, dignity, high ideals, and ethical values. It has a rich and proud heritage… and I quote, “The highest intellects, like the tops of mountains, are the first to catch and reflect the dawn.”
Source: Lecture from Haile T. Debas, MD (UCSF School of Medicine, San Francisco, California) Presented at the 122nd Annual Meeting of the American Surgical Association, April 25, 2002, The Homestead, Hot Springs, Virginia.
The gallbladder lies at the equator between the right and left hemiliver, an imaginary line known as Cantlie’s line or the Rex-Cantlie line coursing between segments 4b and 5, through the bed of the gallbladder towards the vena cava posteriorly. The gallbladder is mostly peritonealized, except for its posterior surface which lies on the cystic plate, a fibrous area on the underside of the liver.
The proportion if its circumference varies, from a pedicled gallbladder with little to no contact with the cystic plate to a mostly intrahepatic gallbladder surrounded by liver parenchyma. The gallbladder carries no muscularis mucosa, no submucosa, and a discontinuous muscularis and only carries a serosa on the visceral peritonealized surface. These anatomical specificities facilitate the direct invasion of gallbladder cancer into the liver. This is why the surgical treatment of gallbladder cancer mandates a radical cholecystectomy, which includes resection of a wedge of segments 4b and 5, when the T stage is higher or equal to T1b. From the body of the gallbladder, a conical infundibulum becomes a cystic duct that extends as the lower edge of the hepatocystic triangle towards the porta hepatis and joins with the common hepatic duct (CHD) to form the CBD. As in the rest of the biliary system, variation is the rule when it comes to the cystic duct confluence with the CHD. It can variably run parallel to it for a distance prior to inserting or spiral behind it and insert on its medial aspect. It can variably insert into the RHD or the RPD, the latter in 4% of livers and particularly when the RPD inserts into the CHD (i.e., below the left-right ductal confluence). This configuration is notorious for exposing the RPD to a risk of injury at the time of cholecystectomy. Rare variations of gallbladder anatomy, including gallbladder duplication and gallbladder agenesis, are also described but are rare. The CBD courses anterolaterally within the hepatoduodenal ligament, usually to the right of the hepatic artery and anterolaterally to the portal vein. However, hepatic arterial anatomy can vary, and when an accessory or replaced hepatic artery is present arising from the superior mesenteric artery, the accessory or replaced vessel courses lateral to the CBD. In its conventional configuration, the right hepatic artery crosses posteriorly to the RHD as it heads towards the right liver, but 25% of the time it crosses anteriorly. These anatomical variants are all relevant to developing a sound surgical strategy to treat hilar CCA. Of note, while left hepatic artery anatomy can also be quite variable, rarely does it affect surgical decision-making in CCA to the same degree as right hepatic artery anatomy.
Distally, the CBD enters the head of the pancreas, joining the pancreatic duct to form the hepatopancreatic ampulla. Just distal to this is the sphincter of Oddi, which controls emptying of ampullary contents into the second portion of the duodenum. When the junction of the CBD and the pancreatic duct occurs before the sphincter complex, reflux of pancreatic enzymes into the biliary tree can lead to chronic inflammatory changes and anatomical distortion resulting in choledochal cysts, known risk factors for the development of CCA. Unlike the rest of the liver parenchyma, which receives dual supply from the arterial and portal venous circulation, the biliary tree is exclusively alimented by the arterial system. The LHD and RHD are alimented respectively by the left hepatic artery and right hepatic artery, which can frequently display replaced, accessory, and aberrant origins – the left artery arising conventionally from the hepatic artery proper but alternatively from the left gastric artery and the right hepatic artery arising from the hepatic artery proper but also variably from the superior mesenteric artery. In hilar CCA, variable combinations of hepatic arterial anatomy and tumor location can either favor resectability or make a tumor unresectable.
Within the hilum of the liver, a plexus of arteries connects the right and left hepatic arteries. Termed the “hilar epicholedochal plexus,” this vascular network provides collateral circulation that can maintain arterial supply to one side of the liver if the ipsilateral vessel is damaged. The preservation of arterial blood supply to the liver remnant is crucial, particularly when creating an enterobiliary anastomosis. Its absence leads to ischemic cholangiopathy and liver abscesses that can be difficult to treat. The CBD receives arterial supply inferiorly from paired arterioles arising from the gastroduodenal artery and the posterior superior pancreaticoduodenal artery, the most important and constant arterial supply to the distal CBD. Proximally the CBD is alimented by paired arterioles of the right hepatic artery. These vessels, known as the marginal arteries, run in parallel to the CBD, laterally and medially to it. Denuding the CBD of this arterial supply risks stricture formation after choledochoenteric anastomosis.
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References : https://bit.ly/3fOmcv2
Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) carries one of the poorest overall prognosis of all human malignancies. The 5-year survival in patients with PDAC, for all stages, remains as low as 6–7%. The low survival rate is attributed to several factors, of which the two most important are aggressive tumor biology and late stage at which most patients are diagnosed. Only 10–20% of patients are eligible for resection at presentation, 30–40% are unresectable/locally advanced, and 50–60% are metastatic. Pancreatic cancer without distant metastasis can be divided into three categories: resectable, borderline resectable, and locally advanced. In absence of metastatic disease, the most important factor for improving survival and possibly offer cure is to achieve a margin-negative resection. Even after potential curative resection, most patients develop recurrences eventually, and 5-year survival of completely resected patients is only up to 25%. The aggressive tumor biology and its inherent resistance to chemotherapy and radiotherapy contributes to early recurrence and metastasis.
Pancreatic cancer surgery has evolved over the past few decades and remains the cornerstone of treatment of resectable and borderline resectable tumors. Advances in modern imaging give precise information on disease extension and vascular involvement that aids in surgical planning in order to achieve a margin-negative resection.
Surgical techniques for pancreatic cancer include pancreaticoduodenectomy, distal pancreatectomy with splenectomy, and total pancreatectomy. Standard lymphadenectomy for pancreatoduodenectomy should include removal of lymph node stations 5, 6, 8a, 12b1, 12b2, 12c, 13a, 13b, 14a, 14b, 17a, and 17b. Involvement of superior mesenteric vein (SMV)/portal vein(PV) was previously considered as a contraindication for resection. However, curative resection along with SMV/PV with vascular reconstruction has now become a standard practice in specialized high-volume centers. To improve margin-negative resections, specially in borderline resectable tumors with proximity to vascular structures, SMA first approach was proposed as a new modification of standard pancreatico-duodenectomy. In a systematic review, SMA first approach was shown to be associated with better perioperative outcomes, such as blood loss, transfusion requirements, pancreatic fistula, delayed gastric emptying, and reduced local and metastatic recurrence rates. In case of arterial involvement, there is no good evidence at present to justify arterial resections for right-sided pancreatic tumors. However, the modified Appleby procedure, which includes en bloc removal of celiac axis with or without arterial reconstruction, when used in appropriately selected patients, offers margin negative resection with survival benefit for locally advanced pancreatic body and tail tumors and should be performed in high-volume centers. Most evidence does not support advantage of more extended resections such as removal of the para-aortic lymph nodes and nerve plexus and multivisceral resections routinely. Such extended resections are associated with compromised quality of life because of associated higher perioperative morbidity and intractable diarrhea. However, in highly selected patients, with preserved performance status and stable or nonprogressive disease on neoadjuvant treatment, such extended resections can provide survival advantage over palliative treatments. Radical surgery in the presence of oligometastatic disease has also been reported to prolong survival in highly selected patients.
The surgical domain can be seen as more complex and high risk in its delivery of care than other non-interventional specialities. It is therefore not surprising that in the majority of studies of adverse events in healthcare, at least 50% occurred within the surgical domain and the majority of these in the operating theatre. Furthermore, at least half of these adverse events were also deemed preventable. Just as the multiple studies in the developed world have similar figures for adverse events in hospitalised patients across all specialities, there appears to be a similar rate of harm in surgery. A review of 14 studies, incorporating more than 16000 surgical patients, quoted an adverse event occurring in 14.4% of surgical patients. This was not simply minor harm; a full 3.6% of these adverse events were fatal, 10% severe and 34% moderately harmful. Gawande, a surgeon from Boston, made one of the first attempts to clarify the source of these adverse events.
This paper pioneered the concept that the majority of these adverse events were not due to lack of technical expertise or surgical skill on the part of the surgeon, finding instead that ‘systems factors’ were the main contributing factor in 86% of adverse events. The most common system factors quoted were related to the people involved and how they were functioning in their environment. Communication breakdown was a factor in 43% of incidents, individual cognitive factors (such as decision-making) were cited in 86%, with excessive workload, fatigue and the design or ergonomics of the environment also contributing.
These findings were confirmed in the systematic review of surgical adverse events, where it was found that errors in what were described as ‘nonoperative management’ were implicated in 8.32% of the study population versus only 2.5% contributed to by technical surgical error. In accordance with other high-risk industries, such as commercial aviation, the majority of these adverse events are therefore not caused by failures of technical skill on the part of the individual surgeon, but rather lie within the wider healthcare team, environment and system. Lapses and errors in communication, teamworking, leadership, situational awareness or decision-making all feature highly in post-hoc analysis of surgical adverse events. This knowledge of error causation has been prominent and acknowledged in most other high-risk industries for many years, but it is only recently that healthcare has appreciated this.
Benign liver tumours are common and are frequently found coincidentally. Most benign liver lesions are asymptomatic, although larger lesions can cause non-specific complaints such as vague abdominal pain. Although rare, some of the benign lesions, e.g. large hepatic adenomas, can cause complications such as rupture or bleeding. Asymptomatic lesions are often managed conservatively by observation. Surgical resection can be performed for symptomatic lesions or when there is a risk of malignant transformation. The type of resection is variable, from small, simple, peripheral resections or enucleations, to large resections or even liver transplantation for severe polycystic liver disease.
Hepatocellular adenomas (HCA) are rare benign hepatic neoplasms in otherwise normal livers with a prevalence of around 0.04% on abdominal imaging. HCAs are predominantly found in women of child-bearing age (2nd to 4th decade) with a history of oral contraceptive use; they occur less frequently in men. The association between oral contraceptive usage and HCA is strong and the risk for a HCA increases if an oral contraceptive with high hormonal potency is used, and if it is used for over 20 months. Long-term users of oral contraceptives have an estimated annual incidence of HCA of 3–4 per 100000. More recently, an increase in incidence in men has been reported, probably related to the increase in obesity, which is reported as another risk factor for developing HCA. In addition, anabolic steroid usage by body builders and metabolic disorders such as diabetes mellitus or glycogen storage disease type I are associated with HCAs. HCAs in men are generally smaller but have a higher risk of developing into a malignancy. In the majority of patients, only one HCA is found, but in a minority of patients more than 10 lesions have been described (also referred to as liver adenomatosis).
Small HCAs are often asymptomatic and found on abdominal imaging being undertaken for other purposes, during abdominal surgery or at autopsy. Some patients present with abdominal discomfort, fullness or (right upper quadrant) pain due to an abdominal mass. It is not uncommon that the initial symptoms of a HCA are acute onset of abdominal pain and hypovolaemic shock due to intraperitoneal rupture. In a series of patients who underwent resection, bleeding was reported in up to 25%. The risk of rupture is related to the size of the adenoma. Exophytic lesions (protruding from the liver) have a higher chance of bleeding compared to intrahepatic or subcapsular lesions (67% vs 11% and 19%, respectively, P<0.001). Lesions in segments II and III are also at higher risk of bleeding compared to lesions in the right liver (35% vs 19%, P = 0.049).
There is no guideline for the treatment of HCAs, although there are general agreements. In men, all lesions should be considered for surgical resection independent of size, given the high risk of malignant transformation, while taking into account comorbidity and location of the lesion. Resection should also be considered in patients with HCAs due to a metabolic disorder. In women, lesions <5 cm can be observed with sequential imaging after cessation of oral contraceptive treatment. In larger tumours, treatment strategies vary. Some clinicians have proposed non-surgical management if hormone therapy is stopped and patients are followed up with serial radiological examinations. The time period of waiting is still under debate, however recent studies indicate that a waiting period of longer than 6 months could be justified.
More recently, the subtypes of the Bordeaux classification of HCA have been studied related to their risk of complications. Some groups report that percutaneous core needle biopsy is of limited value because the therapeutic strategy is based primarily on patient sex and tumour size. Others report a different therapeutic approach based on subtype. Thomeer et al. concluded that there was no evidence to support the use of subtype classification in the stratification and management of individual patients related to risk of bleeding. Size still remains the most important feature to predict those at risk of bleeding during follow-up. However, malignant transformation does seem to be related to differences in subtypes. β-catenin-mutated HCAs trigger a potent mitogenic signalling pathway that is prominent in HCC. Cases of inflammatory HCAs can also show activation of the β-catenin pathway with a risk of developing malignancy. Therefore, β-catenin-mutated and inflammatory HCAs are prone to malignant degeneration, and particularly if >5cm. In these circumstances, invasive treatment should be considered.
Since the initial descriptions of orthotopic liver transplantation (OLT) in the 1960s, both the number of patients receiving transplants and the indications for the procedure have increased significantly. OLT represents the only treatment modality for many patients with a diverse spectrum of disease, with the predominant common factor end-stage liver failure. Advances in perioperative care of the donor and recipient, organ preservation methods, and surgical techniques have resulted in a 5 year overall survival of 78% for all recipients (Kim et al, 2015).
The first published description of human liver transplantation was by Starzl and colleagues in 1963 at the University of Colorado. In this seminal paper, the dismal outcomes of three OLT recipients were described, including one intraoperative death from uncorrectable coagulopathy and two survivors of 7 and 22 days. In addition to the pioneering conceptual framework and implementation of LT, the advanced techniques included grafts from non–heart-beating donors, venovenous bypass in the recipients, choledochocholedochostomy, and coagulation monitoring by using thromboelastography (TEG). Many of these concepts remain or have reentered the realm of LT more than 40 years after their initial description. Based largely on the initial body of work by Starzl and colleagues, this section describes the surgical procedures commonly used worlwide.
The typical deceased donor has had a catastrophic head injury or an intracerebral bleed, with brain death but without multisystem organ failure. Electrolyte imbalance and hepatic steatosis in the donor are predictors of graft nonfunction. A “donor risk index” has been derived to assess the likelihood of good graft function. Key adverse factors include older donor age (especially >60 years of age), use of a split or partial graft, and a non–heart-beating donor, from which the organs are harvested after the donor’s cardiac output ceases, in contrast to the more typical deceased donation in which the organs are harvested prior to cardiovascular collapse. Use of non–heart-beating donors is associated with reduced rates of long-term graft survival and increased risk of biliary complications, which correlate with the duration of “warm ischemia” after cardiovascular collapse and before retrieval of the organ. With the critical shortage of deceased organ donors, expansion of the donor pool has included acceptance of donors 70 years of age and older for selected recipients. Prior to hepatectomy, the harvesting team makes a visual and, if necessary, histologic assessment of the donor organ. Particular attention is paid to anatomic variants in the hepatic artery that may complicate the graft arterial anastomosis in the recipient. Once donor circulation is interrupted, the organ is rapidly infused with a cold preservation solution (e.g., University of Wisconsin, histidine-tryptophan-ketoglutarate, or Institut Georges Lopez solution). Donor iliac arteries and veins are also retrieved in case vascular grafting is required. After its arrival at the recipient institution, further vascular dissection, with arterial reconstruction if necessary, is performed before implantation.
Major challenges remain in LT, including the shortage of donor organs, threat of recurrent disease, and morbidity associated with lifelong therapeutic immunosuppression. Nevertheless, the availability of LT has transformed the lives of patients with advancing liver disease and their health care providers from an ultimately futile effort to manage the complications of cirrhosis into a life-prolonging and life-enhancing intervention.
The AGA recently published a Clinical Practice Update reviewing the best available evidence on pancreatic necrosis, regardless of cause. The update provides 15 best practice advice points that include the need for multidisciplinary care coordination and referral to a tertiary-care center as appropriate. The update describes supportive care, avoidance of prophylactic antibiotics, and optimization of nutrition. In addition, there is an included algorithm for the management of pancreatic necrosis requiring debridement. Debridement within the early acute phase of pancreatitis (within the first 2–4 weeks) should be avoided if possible secondary to increased morbidity and mortality. Intervention in the late phase (> 2–4 weeks) is indicated for patients with infected necrosis or persistent organ dysfunction and failure to thrive. Multiple approaches are available for the management of infected necrosis, including but not limited to percutaneous, endoscopic, or laparoscopic transgastric, or open debridement. In addition, a combination approach using percutaneous drainage followed by videoscopic retroperitoneal debridement or step-up approach can also be used. Since the publication of a multicenter RCT (PANTER) in 2010, the step-up approach for necrotizing pancreatitis has been increasingly used.
The step-up approach or video-assisted retroperitoneal debridement (VARD) is a minimally invasive technique that begins with percutaneous drain placement for necrotizing pancreatitis followed by a minimally invasive retroperitoneal necrosectomy. Patients who underwent the step-up approach versus open necrosectomy had less multiple-organ failure, incisional hernias, and newonset diabetes, but no difference in mortality. The 2020 AGA Clinical Practice Update on the management of pancreatic necrosis suggests that best practice is that ‘‘minimally invasive operative approaches to the debridement of acute necrotizing pancreatitis are preferred to open surgical necrosectomy when possible, given lower morbidity’’. However, the update also notes that open necrosectomy still has a role in the modern management of acute necrotizing pancreatitis, particularly for cases whereby less invasive techniques are not feasible.
Minimally Invasive Versus Open Techniques
Despite advances in laparoscopic and robotic approaches, the vast majority of distal pancreatectomies continue to be performed via an open approach. Recent retrospective data have demonstrated that minimally invasive distal pancreatectomy is associated with decreased blood loss and shorter hospital stays than open pancreatectomy. A large recent study utilizing the Nationwide Inpatient Sample database suggested, first, that the minimally invasive approach is becoming more widely utilized, increasing from 2.4 to 7.3 % over a study period from 1998 to 2009. Second, that study reported that the minimally invasive approach was associated with decreased length of stay as well as decreased incidence of infectious complications, bleeding complications, and blood transfusions. This population-based study echoes conclusions drawn by a large multi-institutional study performed several years previously. Drawing on a combined patient sample of 667 patients, with 24 % initially attempted laparoscopically, the authors were able to demonstrate lower overall complication rate, decreased blood loss, and shorter hospital stays among patients undergoing laparoscopic approach via a multivariate analysis.
Notably, there was no significant difference in the pancreatic leak rate between the open and laparoscopic approaches, although there was a nonsignificant trend favoring the laparoscopic approach. More recently, the robotic approach has generated significant interest as a technique for performing distal pancreatectomy. Retrospective analysis has suggested that the robotic approach is well suited for pancreatectomy. Fistula rates, however, remain a concern. A retrospective review of patients undergoing robotic pancreatic operations included 83 patients who underwent distal pancreatectomy. About 27 % were identified as having a ISPGF type A pancreatic leak; 12 and 4.8 % were identified as having a grade B or C leak, respectively.
Identifying Risk Factors
For pancreaticoduodenectomy (PTD) , a fistula risk score has been recently developed that has been shown to be highly predictive of POPF. This score assigns points based on gland texture, gland pathology, duct diameter, and intraoperative blood loss. In general, high blood loss, soft gland texture, and smaller duct diameter confer increased risk of POPF, whereas pancreatic adenocarcinoma and pancreatitis as the indication for PTD confer protection for the development of pancreatic fistula versus other diagnoses. Also of note, higher fistula risk scores correlated with greater incidence of clinically relevant (ISGPF grade B or C) fistula. The adaptation of this risk score to patients undergoing distal pancreatectomy is yet to be validated; however, at least one published study indicates that this scoring system may have limitations in the setting of distal pancreatectomy. In that study, risk factors for pancreatic fistula after stapled gland transection in patients undergoing distal pancreatectomy were examined, and in a multivariate analysis, only the presence of diabetes and the use of a 4.1-mm staple cartridge were associated with increased risk of pancreatic fistula formation.
COMPARATIVE STUDY BETWEEN THE SLEEVE GASTRECTOMY AND GASTRIC PLICATION IN OBESE RATS
INTRODUCTION: Obesity results from a prolonged imbalance between energy intake and energy expenditure. Studies with experimental models of bariatric surgery provided a fundamental contribution to the understanding of morphological and functional changes in obesity and after bariatric surgery. The restrictive bariatric surgery techniques currently used are gastric banding, sleeve gastrectomy and the gastric plication. The latter is considered an experimental technique and has therefore not yet enough studies that shed light on the postoperative rates of weight loss, surgical complications, resolution of comorbidities and the mechanisms responsible for weight loss. The aim of this study was to conduct a comparative study in rats with cafeteria diet-induced, between gastric plication and sleeve gastrectomy in variation late postoperative in body weight ,plasma biochemistry and gross and microscopic alterations gastric effects obesity.
MATERIAL AND METHOD: 28 male Wistar rats were randomized into three groups after induction period of obesity by cafeteria diet and underwent sleeve gastrectomy (GV group), gastric plication (GP group) and sham operation (control group). The animals were assessed daily postoperatively and the variables were recorded: (initial seven days, 14 and 21 days) body weight and presence of complications until day 21 postoperatively, when they were euthanized and evaluated: biochemistry (glucose, insulin, HDL, total cholesterol, triglycerides, AST, ALT and serum ghrelin), degree of intra-abdominal adhesions, resistance testing will air insufflation in the stomach and microscopic evaluation of the gastric mucosa.
RESULTS: In relation to body weight variation of animals GV group (initial weight: 318 ± 7.89 g / Final weight: 213 ± 9.03g) was significantly decreased (p<0.05) at 21 post-surgery day compared to the GP group (initial weight: 314.11 ± 20.79 g / final weight: 239.16 ± 14.71 g) and control (initial weight: 315.16±17.54g / final weight: 317.91±16.06 g). The animals in the GV group had a significant decrease (p<0.001) in blood glucose, insulin, transaminases, serum HDL and ghrelin compared to animals in GP and control. Was also significantly lower the burst pressure of the stomach in the GV group, the insufflation test the atmospheric air in relation to the GP and control groups. The GP and GV groups showed even different histological grade of inflammation
(subacute inflammation) and control group (chronic inflammation).
CONCLUSIONS: The sleeve gastrectomy is more effective than gastric plication weight loss, metabolic control and reduction of serum ghrelin in obesity rats, and presents the same rates of postoperative complications (adhesions, deaths and grade inflammation).
KEYWORDS: 1. Obesity; 2. Bariatric Surgery; 3.Wistar rats.
The most common presenting sign for patients with malignancy of the periampullary region is obstructive jaundice. While a significant proportion of these patients will be asymptomatic, the deleterious systemic consequences of uncontrolled hyperbilirubinemia may still occur. Furthermore, symptoms such as pruritus can be debilitating and have a significant impact on the quality of life. Thus, some have advocated preoperative drainage of the biliary system in patients with resectable periampullary malignancies, given widespread availability of endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and its perceived safety profile. On the other hand, the purported benefits of routine preoperative drainage in this patient population (namely, resolution of symptoms in symptomatic patients while awaiting surgery, restoration of the enterohepatic cycle, and a potential decrease in postoperative morbidity) have proven to be largely theoretical, and now there are high-quality phase III data that demonstrate the deleterious effects of routine stenting. A seminal study originating from the Netherlands in 2010 evaluated this issue in the only modern randomized controlled trial to date evaluating preoperative endoscopic biliary decompression for these patients. In their multicenter study, they randomized 202 patients with newly diagnosed pancreatic head cancer and bilirubin levels between 2.3 and 14.6 mg/dL to preoperative biliary drainage for 4–6 weeks vs. immediate surgery which was to be performed within a week of enrollment. The primary endpoint was the development of serious complications within 120 days after randomization. Serious complications were defined as complications related to the drainage procedure or the surgical intervention that required additional medical, endoscopic, or surgical management, and that resulted in prolongation of the hospital stay, readmission to the hospital, or death. The reported overall rate of serious complications in this study favored the immediate surgery group (39 vs. 74%; RR 0.54–95% [CI], 0.41–0.71; P < 0.001), complications related to surgery were equivalent (37 vs. 47%; P = 0.14), and there was no difference in mortality rates or length of hospital stay. The observed drainage-related complications included a 15% rate of stent occlusion, 30% need for exchange, and 26% incidence of cholangitis.
“Based on these results, the authors concluded that the morbidity associated with the drainage procedure itself had an additive effect on the postoperative morbidity of patients undergoing pancreatic head resection for cancer and recommended against its routine use in this population.“
A Cochrane systematic review of all available randomized studies (including the abovementioned study by van der Gaag et al.) evaluating preoperative biliary drainage was published in 2012. In this study, Fang et al. assessed the impact of this intervention on survival, serious morbidity (defined as Clavien-Dindo grade 3 or 4), and quality of life. Furthermore, they sought to assess differences in total length of hospital stay and cost. They identified six randomized trials of which four used percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage and the remaining two used endoscopic sphincterotomy and stenting. The pooled analysis of 520 patients (of which 51% underwent preoperative biliary drainage) showed no difference in mortality, but importantly, it showed a significantly higher incidence of serious morbidity in the preoperative drainage group with a rate ratio (RaR) of 1.66 (95% CI 1.28–2.16;P = 0.002). There was no difference in length of hospital stay and not enough data reported for analysis of cost or quality of life.
“Based on the available level 1 data, the authors concluded that there was no evidence to support or refute routine preoperative biliary drainage in patients with obstructive jaundice.“
However, this review also underscored the fact that preoperative biliary drainage may be associated with an increased rate of adverse events and thus questioned the safety of this practice. This Cochrane review included old studies that evaluated patients undergoing percutaneous drainage, a technique used less frequently today for periampullary malignancies. Furthermore, several of these trials included patients with hilar and other types of biliary obstruction. However, the concept of preoperative decompression, as well as its purported benefits and observed results, may be reasonably extrapolated to patients with periampullary lesions.
“The concept of the critical view was described in 1992 but the term CVS was introduced in 1995 in an analytical review of the emerging problem of biliary injury in laparoscopic cholecystectomy. CVS was conceived not as a way to do laparoscopic cholecystectomy but as a way to avoid biliary injury. To achieve this, what was needed was a secure method of identifying the two tubular structures that are divided in a cholecystectomy, i.e., the cystic duct and the cystic artery. CVS is an adoption of a technique of secure identification in open cholecystectomy in which both cystic structures are putatively identified after which the gallbladder is taken off the cystic plate so that it is hanging free and just attached by the two cystic structures. In laparoscopic surgery complete separation of the body of the gallbladder from the cystic plate makes clipping of the cystic structures difficult so for laparoscopy the requirement was that only the lower part of the gallbladder (about one-third) had to be separated from the cystic plate. The other two requirements are that the hepatocystic triangle is cleared of fat and fibrous tissue and that there are two and only two structures attached to the gallbladder and the latter requirements were the same as in the open technique. Not until all three elements of CVS are attained may the cystic structures be clipped and divided. Intraoperatively CVS should be confirmed in a “time-out” in which the 3 elements of CVS are demonstrated. Note again that CVS is not a method of dissection but a method of target identification akin to concepts used in safe hunting procedures. Several years after the CVS was introduced there did not seem to be a lessening of biliary injuries.
Operative notes of biliary injuries were collected and studied in an attempt to determine if CVS was failing to prevent injury. We found that the method of target identification that was failing was not CVS but the infundibular technique in which the cystic duct is identified by exposing the funnel shape where the infundibulum of the gallbladder joins the cystic duct. This seemed to occur most frequently under conditions of severe acute or chronic inflammation. Inflammatory fusion and contraction may cause juxtaposition or adherence of the common hepatic duct to the side of the gallbladder. When the infundibular technique of identification is used under these conditions a compelling visual deception that the common bile duct is the cystic duct may occur. CVS is much less susceptible to this deception because more exposure is needed to achieve CVS, and either the CVS is attained, by which time the anatomic situation is clarified, or operative conditions prevent attainment of CVS and one of several important “bail-out” strategies is used thus avoiding bile duct injury.
CVS must be considered as part of an overall schema of a culture of safety in cholecystectomy. When CVS cannot be attained there are several bailout strategies such a cholecystostomy or in the case of very severe inflammation discontinuation of the procedure and referral to a tertiary center for care. The most satisfactory bailout procedure is subtotal cholecystectomy of which there are two kinds. Subtotal fenestrating cholecystectomy removes the free wall of the gallbladder and ablates the mucosa but does not close the gallbladder remnant. Subtotal reconstituting cholecystectomy closes the gallbladder making a new smaller gallbladder. Such a gallbladder remnant is undesirable since it may become the site of new gallstone formation and recurrent symptoms . Both types may be done laparoscopically.”
Strasberg SM, Hertl M, Soper NJ. An analysis of the problem of biliary injury during laparoscopic cholecystectomy. J Am Coll Surg 1995;180:101-25.
First described by Pablo Mirizzi in 1948 as “functional hepatic syndrome”, Mirizzi’s syndrome was initially thought to be the result of a “physiologic sphincter” of the hepatic duct. It is now understood to be a result of mechanical obstruction of the common hepatic duct secondary to an impacted stone in the gallbladder neck, Hartmann’s pouch, or the cystic duct. The syndrome is very uncommon in Western populations with a reported prevalence of 0.05%-5.7% in large modern series of patients undergoing biliary surgery. With chronic stone impaction, inflammation and recurrent cholangitis can develop with subsequent erosion into the common bile duct (CBD) and resultant biliobiliary fistula between the gallbladder and CBD.
The syndrome encompasses a spectrum of disease. Broadly speaking, Mirizzi’s syndrome can be grouped into two major categories: (1) external compression of the CBD without a fistula (Type 1), and (2) erosion into the CBD causing a cholecystobiliary fistula (Type II-IV). Csendes classification is currently being used to reflect the above classification. Retrospective studies have identified an association between Mirizzi’s syndrome and gallbladder cancer, with an incidence as high as 28%, relative to an incidence of 1-2% in patients with uncomplicated gallstone disease. As with other malignant processes of the biliary tract, biliary stasis and chronic inflammation have been suggested to play a role. In general, it is difficult to distinguish benign Mirizzi’s syndrome from a neoplastic process preoperatively, although older patient age, significantly elevated Ca 19-9, and imaging features suggestive of invasion into the liver or a mass filling the gallbladder should raise suspicion for malignancy.
The most common presenting symptoms are right upper quadrant pain, jaundice, nausea/vomiting, and fever. This spectrum of findings overlaps with several other pathologic processes of the hepatobiliary tract, making preoperative diagnosis difficult. Additionally, the clinical picture may be complicated by the concurrent presence of acute cholecystitis, pancreatitis, or even gallstone ileus. Mirizzi’s syndrome should be suspected in any patient presenting with right upper quadrant pain and abnormal liver enzymes (particularly elevated bilirubin and alkaline phosphatase) or imaging suggestive of an impacted stone. Three findings on imaging together suggest a diagnosis of Mirizzi’s: 1) dilation of the biliary system above the level of the gallbladder neck, 2) the presence of a stone impacted in the gallbladder neck, and 3) an abrupt change to a normal width of the common duct below the level of the stone. Such findings should prompt further imaging to better define the biliary tree, either indirectly though magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP), or directly through endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) or percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC). No imaging modality is entirely sensitive for Mirizzi’s syndrome and the key is to maintain a high index of suspicion.
Management of Mirizzi’s syndrome depends on the degree of fistula. In Type I disease, laparoscopic cholecystectomy is usually achievable, either total (classic) or subtotal, depending on the specific intraoperative findings. If the view of safety can be attained with the critical structures isolated, a classic cholecystectomy may be performed. If the view of safety cannot be achieved due to inflammation or adhesions, the gallbladder is taken down retrograde and opened near the cystic duct orifice. All stones are removed, including any impacted stones, and the cystic duct orifice is examined for the presence of bile to determine whether it is patent. If the cystic duct is patent, it should be ligated (if possible), or the remnant gallbladder should be sutured closed over it (choledochoplasty). An external closed suction drain may be left in the gallbladder fossa and removed the following day if drainage is non-bilious. More commonly, the cystic duct is obliterated, and a subtotal cholecystectomy with removal of all stones is sufficient.
Management of Mirizzi’s syndrome in the presence of a biliobiliary fistula is more complex. If the fistula involves <1/3 of the CBD circumference (Type II), options include primary repair using absorbable suture, closure over a T-tube, or choledochoplasty using the remnant gallbladder. The last approach is preferable to maintain the diameter of the CBD and minimize the risk of subsequent stricture but requires that sufficient gallbladder remnant be available to allow closure. In the presence of a more extensive fistula (Type III or IV), bilioenteric anastomosis is usually the best option.
Evaluation of a patient referring GERD after sleeve gastrectomy should start with a detailed history and physical examination; the presence or absence of GERD-related symptoms should be thoroughly documented as well as any prior treatments or therapy used to treat it. Obtaining preoperative and operative records is of paramount importance particularly in those patients who had their index procedure performed elsewhere. Any endoscopic findings and prior imaging available are important to determine what the best course of action would be. If the patient had preoperative and postoperative imaging such as UGI, it is useful to compare those with a recent study to look for anatomical problems that may have been not addressed at the time of the index operation or developed over time. After this information is obtained, we can classify the GERD after sleeve as:
1. De novo GERD
2. Preexisting GERD without improvement
3. Preexisting GERD with worsening/complication
Regardless of how we classify the GERD, an initial evaluation with imaging
studies such as UGI and EGD is recommended. Comparison with any prior films if available is of significant value. Based on the UGI, we can determine if the shape of the sleeve falls into one of the following categories: tubular, dilated bottom, dilated upper, or dumbbell-shaped sleeve; we will also be able to evaluate esophageal peristalsis in real time and if there is associated hiatal hernias. We believe UGI under fluoroscopy provides important physiologic and anatomic information that can help guide our management approach, and therefore we offer it to all patients. We follow the radiologic evaluation with endoscopy, and during endoscopy, we look for objective signs of reflux such as esophagitis, presence of bile in the stomach or esophagus, as well as missed or recurrent hiatal hernias. In patients with evidence of esophagitis or metaplasia, multiple biopsies are taken. During the endoscopy, subtle findings that suggest a kink or a stricture may be present. In the absence of objective signs of gastroesophageal reflux disease on both endoscopy and upper GI series, we pursue physiologic testing followed by highresolution manometry and pH monitoring. In those patients where clear reflux esophagitis is seen, this additional testing may not be necessary or may be performed in selected cases depending on what the surgical or endoscopic therapy would be.
While it is true that most sleeve-related GERD will be effectively treated with a conversion to Roux-en-Y gastric bypass, not every patient with GERD after reflux will require a bypass or would agree to have one. First key step in addressing the patient is to evaluate whether the patient was selected appropriately to have a sleeve and second is to determine the exact sleeve anatomy; are there anatomical factors that will make it more likely for this patient to experience reflux; is there dilated fundus? Is there a kink or stricture in the sleeve or is it an anatomically appropriate operation? We should pay important attention to the weight loss the patient has experienced with the sleeve. Patients who do not have adequate weight loss and have GERD symptoms should not undergo other therapies and should probably undergo a bypass; however it is our unpublished experience that patients with the association of poor weight loss after sleeve and difficult to treat GERD will correct their GERD after conversion, but their weight loss results are still marginal even with a well-constructed bypass.
Estima-se que atualmente 90% das colecistectomias sejam realizadas pela técnica laparoscópica, percentual este atingido nos Estados Unidos da América no ano de 1992. Os motivos para tal preferência na escolha da técnica cirúrgica aplicada são claros: menor dor no pós-operatório, recuperação pós-cirúrgica mais rápida, menor número de dias de trabalho perdidos e menor tempo de permanência hospitalar. A colecistectomia laparoscópica foi claramente estabelecida como padrão-ouro para o tratamento cirúrgico da litíase biliar, no entanto 2 a 15% das colecistectomias vídeolaparoscópicas necessitam de conversão para cirurgia convencional, sendo as razões mais comuns a inabilidade para se identificar corretamente a anatomia, suspeita de lesão da árvore biliar e sangramento. A identificação dos fatores associados a um maior índice de conversão possibilita à equipe cirúrgica estimar o grau de dificuldade do procedimento, preparando melhor o paciente para o risco de conversão e permitindo a participação de um cirurgião mais experiente num procedimento de maior risco.
Relacionados ao Paciente: 1. Obesidade (IMC > 35), 2. Sexo Masculino, 3. Idade > 65 anos, 4. Diabetes Mellitus e 5. ASA > 2.
Relacionadas a Doença: 1. Colecistite Aguda, 2. Líquido Pericolecístico, 3. Pós – CPRE, 4. Síndrome de Mirizzi e 5. Edema da parede da vesícula > 5 mm.
Relacionadas a Cirurgia: 1. Hemorragia, 2. Aderências firmes, 3. Anatomia obscura, 4. Fístulas internas e 5. Cirurgia abdominal prévia.
Hepatic resection had an impressive growth over time. It has been widely performed for the treatment of various liver diseases, such as malignant tumors, benign tumors, calculi in the intrahepatic ducts, hydatid disease, and abscesses. Management of hepatic resection is challenging. Despite technical advances and high experience of liver resection of specialized centers, it is still burdened by relatively high rates of postoperative morbidity and mortality. Especially, complex resections are being increasingly performed in high risk and older patient population. Operation on the liver is especially challenging because of its unique anatomic architecture and because of its vital functions. Common post-hepatectomy complications include venous catheter-related infection, pleural effusion, incisional infection, pulmonary atelectasis or infection, ascites, subphrenic infection, urinary tract infection, intraperitoneal hemorrhage, gastrointestinal tract bleeding, biliary tract hemorrhage, coagulation disorders, bile leakage, and liver failure. These problems are closely related to surgical manipulations, anesthesia, preoperative evaluation and preparation, and postoperative observation and management. The safety profile of hepatectomy probably can be improved if the surgeons and medical staff involved have comprehensive knowledge of the expected complications and expertise in their management.
The era of hepatic surgery began with a left lateral hepatic lobectomy performed successfully by Langenbuch in Germany in 1887. Since then, hepatectomy has been widely performed for the treatment of various liver diseases, such as malignant tumors, benign tumors, calculi in the intrahepatic ducts, hydatid disease, and abscesses. Operation on the liver is especially challenging because of its unique anatomic architecture and because of its vital functions. Despite technical advances and high experience of liver resection of specialized centers, it is still burdened by relatively high rates of postoperative morbidity (4.09%-47.7%) and mortality (0.24%-9.7%). This review article focuses on the major postoperative issues after hepatic resection and presents the current management.
Symptomatic hemorrhoids require a number of therapeutic interventions each of which has its own complications. Office-based therapy such as rubber band ligation carries the risk of pain and bleeding, which are self-limited, but also carries the risk of rare complications such as sepsis, which may be life threatening. Operative treatment of hemorrhoids includes conventional hemorrhoidectomy, stapled hemorrhoidectomy, and the use of energy devices. Complications of pain and bleeding are common but self-limited. Late complications such as stenosis and fecal incontinence are rare. Recurrent disease is related to the initial grade and therapeutic approach. Treatment of recurrent hemorrhoids should be individualized based on previous treatments and the grade of disease. Anesthetic complications, especially urinary retention, are common and related to the anesthetic technique. Practitioners should council their patients as to the risks of the various approaches to treating symptomatic hemorrhoids.
Extent of lymph node dissection has been an area of controversy in gastric adenocarcinoma for many years. Some surgeons believe that cancer metastasizes through a stepwise progression, and an extensive lymphadenectomy is necessary to improve survival and/or cure the patient. Other physicians argue that extensive ly-mphadenectomies only add pe-rioperative morbidity and mor-tality and do not improve survival. Asian countries have been performing extended lymphadenectomies routinely for many years with promising survival data, although Western countries have not been able to reproduce those results. Much of the controversy surrounding lymphadenectomies started in the 1980s when Japanese studies reported superior survival rates matched stage for stage, compared to the United States. This was theorized to be secondary to the more extensive lymphadenectomy performed in Japan compared to the United States.
A United Kingdom study randomized 400 patients to either a D1 or a D2 lymph node dissection. Those patients with tumors in the upper or middle third of the stomach underwent a distal pancreaticosplenectomy to obtain retropancreatic and splenic hilar nodes. While the 5-year survival rates were not statistically significant between the two groups, on multivariate analyses it was noted that those patients in the D2 group that did not undergo the distal pancreaticosplenectomy had an increased survival compared with the D1 group. A trial in the Netherlands randomized 380 gastric cancer patients to a D1 lymphadenectomy and 331 patients to a D2 lymphadenectomy. Similar to the United Kingdom study, there was not a significant difference in survival between the two groups, even when followed out to 11 years. There was a significant increase in postoperative complications in the D2 group compared with the D1 group (43 % vs. 25 %, respectively) as well as mortality (10 % vs. 4 %, respectively).
The data from these two studies suggest that a pancreaticosplenectomy performed to harvest lymph nodes seems to only add morbidity and mortality while not improving survival. One concern raised about the prior two studies was the variation in surgical technique and lack of standardization of surgeon experience. A Taiwanese study accounted for this by performing the study at a single institution with three surgeons, each of whom had completed at least 25 D3 lymph node dissections prior to the study. Patients with gastric cancer were randomized to a D1 lymph node dissection (defined as resection of perigastric lymph nodes along the lesser and greater curves of the stomach) or a D3 lymph node dissection (defined as resection of additional lymph nodes surrounding the splenic, common hepatic, left gastric arteries, nodes in the hepatoduodenal ligament, and retropancreatic lymph nodes). There was an overall 5-year survival benefit with the D3 group of 60 % compared with the D1 group of 54 %. A Japanese study evaluated a more aggressive lymph node dissection and randomized patients to a D2 dissection or a para-aortic lymph node dissection (PAND). There was no significant difference in 5-year survival between the two groups with a trend toward an increase in complications in the PAND group. Multiple studies have shown that the number of positive lymph nodes is a significant predictor of survival. Current AJCC guidelines stipulate that at least 15 lymph nodes are needed for pathologic examination to obtain adequate staging.
Laparoscopic techniques have become an integral part of surgical practice over the past several decades. For gastric cancer, multiple retrospective studies have reported the advantages of laparoscopic gastrectomy (LG) over open gastrectomy (OG). A recent meta-analysis of 15 nonrandomized comparative studies has also shown that although LG had a longer operative time than OG, it was associated with lower intraoperative blood loss, overall complication rate, fewer wound-related complications, quicker recovery of gastrointestinal motility with shorter time to first flatus and oral intake, and shorter hospital stay. A randomized prospective trial comparing laparoscopic assisted with open subtotal gastrectomy reported that LG had a significantly lower blood loss (229 ± 144 ml versus 391 ± 136 ml; P< 0.001), shorter time to resumption of oral intake (5.1 ± 0.5 days versus 7.4 ± 2 days; P< 0.001), and earlier discharge from hospital (10.3 ± 3.6 days versus 14.5 ± 4.6 days; P< 0.001).
The operative conduct of the biliary-enteric anastomosis centers around three technical steps: 1) identification of healthy bile duct mucosa proximal to the site of obstruction; 2) preparation of a segment of alimentary tract, most often a Roux-en-Y jejunal limb; and 3) construction of a direct mucosa-to-mucosa anastomosis between these two. Selection of the proper anastomosis is dictated by the indication for biliary decompression and the anatomic location of the biliary obstruction. A right subcostal incision with or without an upper midline extension or left subcostal extension provides adequate exposure for construction of the biliary-enteric anastomosis. Use of retractors capable of upward elevation and cephalad retraction of the costal edges are quite valuable for optimizing visual exposure of the relevant hilar anatomy.
Division of the ligamentum teres and mobilization of the falciform ligament off the anterior surface of the liver also facilitate operative exposure; anterocephalad retraction of the ligamentum teres and division of the bridge of tissue overlying the umbilical fissure are critical for optimal visualization of the vascular inflow and biliary drainage of segments II, III, and IV. Cholecystectomy also exposes the cystic plate, which runs in continuity with the hilar plate. Lowering of the hilar plate permits exposure of the left hepatic duct as it courses along the base of segment IVb. In cases of unilateral hepatic atrophy as a result of long-standing biliary obstruction or preoperative portal vein embolization, it is critical to understand that the normal anatomic relationships of the portal structures are altered. In the more common circumstance of right-sided atrophy, the portal and hilar structures are rotated posteriorly and to the right; as a result, the portal vein, which is typically most posterior, is often encountered first; meticulous dissection is necessary to identify the common bile duct and hepatic duct deep within the porta hepatis.