Background: The potential for massive hemorrhage imposes additional challenge in the management of retroperitoneal tumors. This report details technical considerations for the management of upper retroperitoneal tumors using principles of liver transplantation. Methods: A retrospective chart review of patients who underwent surgery for extensive retroperitoneal tumors using techniques for liver transplantation from December 2002 to November 2007 was done. Results: Twenty-four patients (14 males and 10 females with a mean age 57 years) underwent major retroperitoneal surgery. Renal cell carcinoma was the most common tumor seen in 17 patients. Mean tumor dimension was 12.4 cm. Abdominal exposure was achieved via bilateral subcostal incision with upper midline extension. Right hepatic lobe mobilization and isolation from the inferior vena cava (IVC) was performed in 23 cases. Fourteen patients had IVC involvement by tumor thrombus, which was infrahepatic in six, retrohepatic in five, and intra-atrial in three patients. Tumor thrombus was removed by cavotomy in seven cases, resection and plasty in four cases, IVC graft reconstruction in two cases, and one patient required IVC and atrial graft reconstruction. Liver resection was needed in seven patients to achieve R0 resection. The Pringle maneuver was used in three patients; total liver vascular isolation with venovenous bypass was required in two cases, transdiaphragmatic intrapericardial IVC control in one case, and cardiopulmonary bypass in one patient. There was no intraoperative or postoperative mortality and mean length of stay was 13 days. Conclusion: Liver transplantation surgical principles help achieve exposure and vascular control of major vascular structures that enable safe resection of these extensive retroperitoneal tumors.
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