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Ann Surg. 2005 Dec;242(6):774-8, discussion 778-80.

Frozen sectioning of the pancreatic cut surface during resection of intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms of the pancreas is useful and reliable: a prospective evaluation.

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  • 1Department of Pathology, Hospital Beaujon, University Paris VII, AP-HP, 100 Boulevard du Général Leclerc, 92118 Clichy-Cedex, France.



To prospectively evaluate the accuracy of frozen sectioning (FS) of the pancreatic transection margin and its influence on surgery during resection of intraductal papillary and mucinous neoplasms (IPMNs).


Preoperative assessment of IPMN extension is difficult and transection margin is frequently tumoral on the surgical specimen.


FS was performed in 127 patients who underwent partial pancreatectomy for IPMN from 1996 to 2004, corresponding to 90 pancreaticoduodenectomies (1-4 successive FS; total = 132), 25 distal pancreatectomies (1-2 FS; total = 27), and 12 medial pancreatectomies (2-4 FS; total = 29). Dysplasia was graded in both main (MD) and branch ducts (BD), and pancreatectomy was extended if FS revealed at least IPMN adenoma on the MD or borderline IPMN on BD (defined as "significant" lesions).


The 188 FS revealed that MD and BD epithelium comprised significant noninvasive lesions in 49 and 13 cases, respectively, and infiltrating carcinoma in 4 other ones. Definitive examination corroborated FS in 176 of 188 cases (94%). Altogether, 54 of 188 (29%) FS comprised significant lesions that resulted in 46 additional resections in 38 patients (30%). Eight patients did not have additional resection because of either high operative risk or preoperative diagnosis of noncurable infiltrating carcinoma. The 134 FS without significant lesions were associated with 7 additional resections mainly because of macroscopic suspicion of another tumor location. Conflicting results between FS and definitive examination resulted in inadequate extent of pancreatectomy in 4 patients (3%).


Results of FS of the transection margin are confirmed by definitive examination in 94% of cases. According to our protocol, FS changes the extent of resection in 30% of patients and allows adequate resection in 97% of patients.

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