Laparoscopic liver resection (LLR) is becoming standard practice, replacing the open approach in terms of safety and feasibility. However, few data are available for the elderly. The objective of this study is to assess the feasibility of LLR in elderly patients, by making a comparison with open liver resection (OLR) and with non-elderly patients. Relevant studies found in the Cochrane Library, Embase, PubMed, and Web of Science were used in order to perform a systematic review and meta-analysis. Nine fully extracted comparative studies were included and two groups were identified: Group 1 with a comparison between OLR and LLR in the elderly and Group 2 with a focus on differences after LLR between elderly and non-elderly patients. A total number of 497 elderly patients who underwent LLR were analyzed. A random effect model was used for the meta-analysis. In Group 1, 1025 elderly patients were included: 640 underwent OLR and 385 underwent LLR. LLR was associated with minor blood loss (MD - 240 mL, 95% CI - 416.61, - 63.55; p 0.008; I2 = 96%), less transfusion (8% vs. 13.1%; RR 0.61, 95% CI 0.41, 0.91; p = 0.02; I2 = 0%), fewer postoperative Clavien-Dindo III/IV complications (RR 0.48 in favor of LLR; 95% CI 0.29, 0.77; p = 0.003; I2 = 0%). On the other hand, no significant difference was observed in terms of bile leakage, ascites, mortality, liver failure, or R0 resection. Group 2 included 112 elderly and 276 non-elderly patients who underwent LLR. The meta-analysis showed no significant difference in terms of blood loss, transfusions, liver failure, Clavien-Dindo III/IV complications, postoperative mortality, ascites, bile leak, hospital stay, R0 resection, and operative time. Laparoscopic liver resection is a safe and feasible procedure for elderly patients. However, further randomized studies are required to confirm this.
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