There is a controversy over whether the different outcomes of prophylaxis of hepatitis B virus (HBV) recurrence are attributable to different treatments. A systematic review and a meta-analysis were conducted to evaluate lamivudine monotherapy and combined therapy of lamivudine and hepatitis B immunoglobulin (HBIG) in HBV infected liver recipients. A fixed effects model was used for statistical pooling of relative risks (RR) for the different outcomes. Six articles (551 patients) fulfilled the inclusion criteria. Statistically significant differences were observed between lamivudine monotherapy and lamivudine + HBIG therapy in hepatitis B recurrence [P < 0.0001; RR = 0.38; 95% CI (0.25, 0.58)], YMDD mutant [P = 0.002; RR = 0.40; 95% CI (0.23, 0.72)] and hepatitis B recurrence in HBV-DNA positive patients before orthotopic liver transplantation [P < 0.00001; RR = 0.31; 95% CI (0.21, 0.45)]. No significant differences were observed in patient survival [P = 0.59; RR = 1.02; 95% CI (0.95, 1.09)], graft survival [P = 0.56; RR = 1.02; 95% CI (0.95, 1.09)] and diseases leading to death between the two groups [HBV recurrence leading to death: P = 0.05; RR = 0.47; 95% CI (0.22, 1.02); hepatocellular carcinoma recurrence leading to death: P = 0.13; RR = 0.34; 95% CI (0.09, 1.36)]. In conclusion, combination of lamivudine and HBIG can effectively decrease the recurrence rate of HBV and the incidence of YMDD mutant, but it can not improve patient survival and graft survival significantly. Well-designed large-sample trials are needed to evaluate the efficiency of combined therapy of lamivudine and HBIG in prophylaxis of HBV recurrence in liver graft recipients.