Background: The extent of resection and the frequency of liver surgery have increased over the past decades, enabled by improved haemostasis provided by electrosurgical liver dissection. Because extensive liver surgery is still associated with lethal complications, further optimisation of the technique and a better molecular understanding of hepatic wound healing and regeneration are needed. Systematic studies and a mouse model reflecting the clinical reality of liver surgery are lacking.
Methods: We performed liver resection in mice with a monopolar electrocautery device in comparison to the classical en-bloc ligation method. Regeneration was assessed using liver weight and BrDU immunohistochemistry after sacrifice and non-invasively using micro computed tomography (µCT).
Results: Mortality in the electrosurgical model was similar to the ligation method given an identical extent of resection. Regeneration of liver proceeded significantly faster in the electrosurgical group: Liver weight was 25.6% higher at sacrifice after 168h (p=0.0003). Concordantly, both µCT analysis (22.6% higher liver volume at 168h, p=0.008) and BrDU staining (71.4% higher proliferation at 72h, p=0.0005) indicated superior regeneration of liver after electrosurgical partial hepatectomy.
Conclusions: The mode of liver resection has a profound impact on regeneration and should be studied molecularly using the presented novel model of electrosurgical liver resection.