Completion of a Liver Surgery Complexity Score and Classification Based on an International Survey of Experts

Major K. Lee, Feng Gao, Steven M. Strasberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

49 Scopus citations


Background Liver resections have classically been distinguished as “minor” or “major,” based on number of segments removed. This is flawed because the number of segments resected alone does not convey the complexity of a resection. We recently developed a 3-tiered classification for the complexity of liver resections based on utility weighting by experts. This study aims to complete the earlier classification and to illustrate its application. Study Design Two surveys were administered to expert liver surgeons. Experts were asked to rate the difficulty of various open liver resections on a scale of 1 to 10. Statistical methods were then used to develop a complexity score for each procedure. Results Sixty-six of 135 (48.9%) surgeons responded to the earlier survey, and 66 of 122 (54.1%) responded to the current survey. In all, 19 procedures were rated. The lowest mean score of 1.36 (indicating least difficult) was given to peripheral wedge resection. Right hepatectomy with IVC reconstruction was deemed most difficult, with a score of 9.35. Complexity scores were similar for 9 procedures present in both surveys. Caudate resection, hepaticojejunostomy, and vascular reconstruction all increased the complexity of standard resections significantly. Conclusions These data permit quantitative assessment of the difficulty of a variety of liver resections. The complexity scores generated allow for separation of liver resections into 3 categories of complexity (low complexity, medium complexity, and high complexity) on a quantitative basis. This provides a more accurate representation of the complexity of procedures in comparative studies.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)332-342
Number of pages11
JournalJournal of the American College of Surgeons
Issue number2
StatePublished - Aug 1 2016


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