Using selective angiograms of the liver, we analyzed the patterns of intrahepatic recurrence of hepatocellular carcinomas following curative surgery. In 33 patients with intraheptaic recurrences, seven patients (21%) had a recurrence near the resected hepatic stump. The remaining 26 had either a nodular recurrence in segments away from the resected margin or a widespread multinodular recurrence in the liver remnant. There was a recurrence within the first postoperative year in five of 16 patients with a nodular recurrence and in eight of 10 patients with a widespread multinodular recurrence. In these patients, particularly those with a widespread multinodular recurrence, tumor thrombi in the portal vein present before the operation and/or disseminated during operation from such an advanced main tumor seemed to be the most important and significant factor related to the early recurrence in the remnant liver. This evidence suggests that in cases of surgery for hepatocellular carcinoma it is important to establish a technique to prevent dissemination of cancer cells due to operative manipulation and also adequate adjuvant therapy rather than attempting to obtain an ample resection margin.