The number of hepatectomies has increased greatly in recent years. Surgery for hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) in the normal liver has not increased. However, the increase in numbers of hepatectomies for HCC associated with liver cirrhosis is remarkable. More than 80% of our hepatectomy cases were cirrhotic and about 80% of these cirrhotic cases had HCCs 5cm or less in diameter. The operative mortality rate has improved in the latter half of this series, from 10.1% (9/89) to 1.5% (5/338), in spite of an increase in cases with poor liver function. This corresponds to a decrease in the mean value of the annual operative blood loss. The survival rates after hepatectomy for all cases (n = 378) were 40.6% ± 6.6 (% ± SE) for 5 year and 22.7% ± 5.3 for 10 year at the end of 1988. A difference of the 5-year survival rate between the patients operated on before 1981 (n = 78, 25.6% ± 4.9) and after 1982 (n = 300, 46.1% ± 4.8) was observed (p<0.05). Because the cancer-free survival rates of the patients operated on in the two periods, before 1981 and after 1982, were almost the same, the recent improvement of the survival rates seems to be due to a prolongation of survival time after recurrence
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