Background: Liver resection is a significant operation usually limited to large metropolitan hospitals. Liver resections were first performed at the Launceston General Hospital (LGH), a regional centre (bed capacity 280), in May 2000. This is a summary of liver resection at LGH.
Methods: Data of liver resections performed between May 2000 and March 2008 at LGH were collected retro-prospectively and reviewed with attention to patient survival, post-operative complications and mortality.
Results: There were 102 consecutive liver resections during the study period. Metastatic colorectal adenocarcinoma was the most frequent pathology (n = 61). Six patients had metastases from primaries other than colorectal cancer. There were 13 resections for primary liver malignancy, 2 from invasion by gallbladder carcinoma, 1 for contiguous invasion by gastric cancer and 19 were for benign conditions. Thirteen patients had post-operative wound infections and six had significant bile leaks. There were five deaths in-hospital (surgical mortality 4.9%). At the end of the study period, 51 cancer patients were still alive (14 with disease recurrences) and 30 have died (23 from recurrent diseases). Patients operated for colorectal cancer metastases achieved a 44% 5-year survival rate (median survival = 46 months). Patients with hepatocellular carcinoma had 3-year survival rate of 15% (median survival = 24 months).
Conclusion: Resection provides the best hope of cure for patients with primary or secondary hepatic malignancy. With adequate expertise, liver resections can be performed safely in a regional hospital.