OBJECTIVE: The authors weighed the risks and benefits of repeat liver resections for colorectal metastatic disease. METHOD: In the 6-year period between January 1985 and June 1991, 499 patients underwent liver resections for colorectal metastases at the Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center. Of these, 25 patients had repeat surgical resections for isolated recurrent disease to the liver. The clinical data for these patients were reviewed. RESULTS: The median interval between the two resections was 11 months. There were no perioperative deaths, and the complication rate was 28%. Median follow-up after the second liver resection is 19 months, with median survival of 17 months for nonsurvivors. Although the median survival after the second resection is 30 months, 20 of the 25 patients have had recurrences with a median disease-free interval of only 9 months. No characteristic of primary or metastatic disease predicted outcome, including time between presentation of the primary and development of liver metastases, disease-free interval after the first liver resection, and bilobar liver involvement. CONCLUSIONS: Although repeat liver resections can be performed safely and improves survival, the likelihood of cure from such resection therapy is low. This likelihood of further recurrences encourage studies of adjuvant or alternative treatments of this population.