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LLR surgery is a minimally invasive procedure where the surgeon removes a benign or malignant liver tumour through three or four keyhole-sized incisions. These tiny incisions are a stark contrast to the one large wound and scar when the same procedure is carried out via open surgery.
The advantages of LLR include reduced pain after surgery, less intraoperative blood loss and patients can quickly return to their previous level of activities. With a faster recovery time and fewer post-operative complications, patients require a shorter hospital stay,which in turn leads to reduced hospitalisation costs. This approach is also superior to Open Liver Resection (OLR) as a bridge to liver transplantation for patients with superficial hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC) accompanied by liver cirrhosis, as it results in less abdominal adhesions.
Dr Chang Kin Yong Stephen is the pioneer of the Single Incision Laparoscopic Surgery Programme in Singapore. As the founding member of the International Laparoscopic Liver Society and the Singapore Representative for the Asia-Pacific Laparoscopic Hepatectomy Promotion and Development Committee, he is clearly no stranger to the benefits of LLR.
"Our studies have shown a shorter operative time with LLR than OLR. The single incision laparoscopic approach, in particular, produces remarkable cosmetic results – the only visible scar is well hidden in the umbilicus. That is why, if the tumour characteristics are suitable, we would always recommend LLR to the patient," explained Dr Chang.
OPTING FOR LLR
The advantages of LLR are what led 54-year-old Kyaw Khaing Min from Myanmar to Dr Chang for the liver resection procedure. "We first consulted a hepatologist from Mount Elizabeth and he referred us to Dr Chang, who is very experienced in this area. My relatives had done their treatments in Singapore previously and I knew that he will be in good hands." shared Kyaw Khaing Min’s niece. According to Dr Chang, not only is there minimal post-operative morbidity with LLR, patients can usually be discharged and resume normal activities after just one to three days in the hospital.