PURPOSE: Though major hepatic resections including hemihepatectomy, trisectionectomy, and central bisectionectomy are most commonly employed for small (<5 cm) hepatocellular carcinoma (HCC), limited hepatic resection is indicated in some HCC patients with impaired liver function, poor physical condition, or tumors peripherally located. We compared the clinicopathological features and long-term survival between the patients who underwent major resection and limited resection. METHODS: From January 1998 to May 2007, 223 patients who underwent hepatic resection for small HCC were enrolled. 123 patients underwent limited resection and 100 patients underwent major resection. Clinocopathologic features, overall, and disease-free survival were compared between both groups. RESULTS: The limited resection group had lower mean serum albumin levels (3.86+/-0.41 vs. 4.11+/-3.61, P<0.0001) and higher mean ICG R15 (12.66+/-0.87 vs. 7.51+/-4.33, P<0.0001). Patients with esophageal varix and liver cirrhosis were more common in the limited resection group (34.1% and 73.1% versus 9% and 45% respectively). Morbidity and mortality were not different in both groups. Overall 1-, 3-, 5-year survivals in both limited resection and major resection groups were 89.4%, 77.3%, 43.8% and 87.8%, 76.5%, 62.1% respectively (P=0.161) and 1-, 3-, 5-year disease free survivals were 80.2%, 50.2%, 38.6% and 79.9%, 63.2%, 50.4% respectively (P=0.10). CONCLUSION: Despite indifference of overall and disease-free 5-year survival rates between limited and major resection groups, careful follow up is essential to detect late recurrence in the limited resection group, since limited resection tends to have more frequent recurrence, especially 2 years after surgery.