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Am Surg. 2002 Mar;68(3):264-7; discussion 267-8.

Distal pancreatectomy: does the method of closure influence fistula formation?

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  • 1Department of Surgery, Loyola University Medical Center, Maywood, Illinois, USA.


The appropriate closure of the pancreatic remnant after distal pancreatectomy is still debated. Suture techniques, stapled closure, and pancreaticoenteric anastomosis all have their supporters. In this study we have reviewed our data from distal pancreatectomy to determine whether the type of remnant closure or underlying pathologic process had any relation to postoperative fistula formation. We performed a retrospective chart review of patients undergoing distal pancreatectomy at our institution between 1993 and 2001. The charts were reviewed for morbidity and mortality. These were then related to the type of closure of the pancreatic stump. From 1993 to 2001 a total of 86 patients underwent distal pancreatectomy. Data were available on 85 patients. Indications for surgery were pancreatic tumor (69%), pancreatitis (14%), trauma (7%), and extra pancreatic disease (9%). Pancreatic fistula occurred in 14 per cent (N = 12), intra-abdominal abscess in 8 per cent (N = 7), and wound infection in 2 per cent (N = 2). There was no mortality in the series. The incidence of pancreatic fistula formation was not related to method of closure of the pancreatic remnant nor to the underlying pathologic process. Postoperative pancreatic fistulas will close spontaneously even without total parenteral nutrition.

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