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Laparoscopic resection of hepatic alveolar echinococcosis: A single-center experience.

INTRODUCTION: Alveolar echinococcosis (AE) remains a very rare disease requiring complete radical resection for curative treatment. While open approaches are common, safety and efficacy of laparoscopic resections remain unknown.

METHODS: This is a single-center, retrospective cohort study with patients undergoing liver resection for hepatic AE at the Department of Visceral Surgery and Medicine, Bern University Hospital from December 2002 to December 2020. Postoperative outcomes of patients following laparoscopic hepatectomy (LH) for hepatic AE were compared with those of patients undergoing open hepatectomy (OH).

RESULTS: A total of 93 patients underwent liver resection for hepatic AE. Laparoscopic hepatectomy was performed in 23 patients and open hepatectomy in 70 patients. While there were no significant differences in terms of gender, age and diagnostic tools, the majority of patients of the LH cohort were PNM stage 1 (78%) in contrast to only 39% in the OH cohort (p = 0.002). Patients undergoing laparoscopic hepatectomy were treated by minor liver resections in 91% and in 9% by major liver resections in comparison to the open hepatectomy cohort with 61% major liver resections and 39% minor resections. Laparoscopic hepatectomy was associated with shorter mean operation time (127 minutes vs. 242 minutes, p <0.001), lower major complication rate (0% vs. 11%, p = 0.322) and shorter mean length of hospital stay (4 days vs. 13 days, p <0.001). Patients with LH had a distinct, but not significant lower recurrence rate (0% vs. 4%, p = 0.210) during a mean follow-up of 55 months compared with a follow-up of 76 months in the OH cohort. After subgroup analysis of PNM stage 1 patients, similar results are seen with persistent shorter mean operation time (120 minutes vs. 223 minutes, p <0.001), lower major complication rate (0% vs. 8%, p = 0.759) and shorter length of hospital stay (4 days vs. 12 days, p <0.001).

CONCLUSION: Laparoscopy appears as a feasible and safe approach for patients with PNM stage 1 alveolar echinococcosis without impact on early disease recurrence.

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