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Am J Surg. 2002 Mar;183(3):237-41.

Morbidity, mortality, and technical factors of distal pancreatectomy.

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  • 1Department of Surgery, University of California, Davis, Sacramento, CA, USA.



Pancreatic leak is a major source of morbidity associated with pancreatic surgery. We sought to identify disease and technique-dependent factors associated with morbidity and mortality after distal pancreatectomy.


Retrospective review of patients who underwent distal pancreatectomy during a 5-year period. Clinical, technical, and pathologic data were correlated with operative morbidity or mortality.


Fifty-one patients underwent distal pancreatectomy for primary pancreatic disease, extrapancreatic malignancy, or trauma. Overall perioperative mortality and morbidity rates were 4% and 47%, respectively. Pancreatic leak was the most common complication, occurring in 26% of patients. Overall complications and pancreatic leaks occurred more often after distal pancreatectomy for trauma and in patients with a sutured pancreatic stump closure.


Distal pancreatectomy can be performed with a low rate of mortality, though pancreatic leak is a common cause of morbidity. The urgency of the procedure and the method of pancreatic stump closure may influence postoperative morbidity.

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