Background: The Ligasure™ Vessel Sealing System is a haemostatic device designed primarily for use in abdominal surgery. Randomized trials have demonstrated that it is safe and quick for haemorrhoidectomy, but there is no evidence that it confers any advantage in complicated gastrointestinal surgery. The aim of the present study was to examine the value of the Ligasure™ system in extended lymph node dissection (D2) during gastrectomy for cancer in a randomized clinical trial. Methods: D2 gastric resection performed with the Ligasure™ system was compared with resection using conventional haemostatic methods in a prospective randomized trial. Central randomization (40 patients in each group) was performed after a staging laparotomy. The main outcome measures were operating time, intraoperative blood loss, postoperative course and complications. Results: Ligasure™ was associated with less intraoperative blood loss (mean(s.d.) 142(73) versus 239(124) ml; P = 0.001) and a shorter operating time (mean(s.d.) 169(25) versus 222(28) min; P = 0.001) than conventional operation. Postoperative drainage fluid volumes were greater in the Ligasure™ group (mean(s.d.) 1577(940) versus 886(542) ml; P = 0.020). There were no differences in postoperative complications or hospital stay. Conclusion: The Ligasure™ Vessel Sealing System is safe for use in extended lymph node dissection for gastric cancer, and is associated with a shorter operating time and decreased blood loss compared with conventional haemostatic techniques.
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