The reported rate of postoperative bile leak is variable between 3 and 33%. Recent data would suggest a minimally invasive approach to liver surgery has decreased this incidence.
This multi-institutional case–control study utilized databases from three high-volume surgeons. All consecutive open and minimally invasive liver resection cases were analyzed in a propensity score-adjusted multivariable regression. A p value < 0.05 was considered significant.
In 1388 consecutive liver resections, the average age was 56.9 ± 14.0 years, 730 (52.59%) were male gender, and 599 (43.16%) underwent minimally invasive liver resection. Thirty-nine (2.81%) in the series were identified with post-resection bile duct leaks. Leaks were associated with major resections and increased blood loss (p < 0.05). Propensity score-adjusted multivariable regression identified minimally invasive liver resection significantly and independently reduced the odds of bile duct leak (OR 0.48, p = 0.046) even controlling for BMI, ASA, cirrhosis, major resection, and resection year.
Our data suggest the incidence of bile leaks in a large-volume center series is far less than previously reported and that a minimally invasive approach to liver resection reduces the incidence of postoperative bile leak.