Hepatic artery reconstruction in living donor liver transplantation from the microsurgeon's point of view



Microvascular surgery for the reconstruction of the hepatic artery in living donor liver transplantation is discussed from the microsurgeon's point of view. A refined operative procedure to improve the safety of the anastomosis is described. In living donor liver transplantation, the hepatic artery of the graft is short and small, the operative site is deep and mobile, and the anatomic arrangement of the graft left hepatic artery may differ from that of the recipient's dilated hepatic artery. To create a safe anastomosis under these conditions, recipient arteries that were slightly smaller than the graft artery were dissected. Without the size discrepancy, and end-to-end anastomosis could be created. Some refinements to create a good operative field made the anastomosis easy. The apparatus and techniques used in free- flap transfer facilitated a clean anastomosis. We anastomosed 44 arteries in 40 patients undergoing living donor liver transplantation using microsurgical techniques. Neither a decrease in the arterial blood flow nor hepatic artery thrombosis was noted. The refined operative procedure we describe in this report can be used to overcome the problems associated with the hepatic artery anastomosis in living donor liver transplantation.