Reappraisal of surgical indications and approach for liver hemangioma: single-center experience on 74 patients

Felice Giuliante, Francesco Ardito, Maria Vellone, Gennaro Nuzzo, Marco Giordano, Giuseppina Ranucci, Ivo Giovannini, Carlo Chiarla, M Piccoli

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33 Citations (Scopus)


BACKGROUND: Liver hemangiomas are rarely large, symptomatic, or presenting atypical imaging patterns. Surgery is rarely needed; indications and choice of the best technique remain not precisely defined. METHODS: Features of hemangiomas and surgical indications were assessed in 74 patients (mean follow-up 63.2 months). In 40 operated patients, the results of liver resection versus enucleation were compared. RESULTS: Most hemangiomas (60/74, 81.1%) showed no size increment. In 40 operated patients (40/74, 54.1%) the mean tumor size (11.9 cm, range 2.6–46.0) was larger than in nonoperated patients (11.9 vs 6.0 cm, P .0002). Surgical indications were specific symptoms, tumor enlargement, Kasabach-Merritt syndrome, and uncertain diagnosis. Mortality (nil), morbidity (10.0%), and transfusion rate (15.0%) were similar for 28 liver resections versus 12 enucleations; bleeding was more related to large hemangioma size than to the choice of either technique. Liver ischemia techniques, autotransfusion, and intraoperative blood salvage reduced the risk of transfusion. CONCLUSIONS: Surgery is rarely indicated, has a low risk, and has similar results for liver resection versus enucleation. Risk of bleeding is related more to the large size of the hemangioma than to the type of surgery (resection or enucleation). In these patients, management, the need for surgery, and the choice of technique should be carefully individualized.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)741-748
Number of pages8
Publication statusPublished - 2011


  • Follow up
  • Giant hemangioma
  • Kasabach-Merritt syndrome
  • Liver hemangioma
  • Operative indications
  • Results
  • Surgery


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