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Langenbecks Arch Surg. 2000 Aug;385(5):329-36.

Therapeutic experience of 65 cases with organic hyperinsulinism.

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Department of Surgery, Heinrich-Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany.



The treatment for insulinoma is enucleation or resection, which are associated with various degrees of morbidity, including fistulas, pseudocysts, and necessity for reoperations.


We evaluated the outcome of 65 patients operated on for organic hyperinsulinism at an experienced university hospital (Department of Surgery, Heinrich-Heine University, Düsseldorf, Germany) between 1990 and 1998. Procedures included enucleation (n=37), left-sided resection (n=19), combination of enucleation from the head and left-sided resection (n=4), subtotal left pancreatectomy (n=2), and pancreaticoduodenectomy (n=3).


In 47 out of the 65 patients (72%), the expected benign solitary insulinoma was found. Seven patients had malignant tumors and another eight had multiple tumors (including two with multiple endocrine neoplasia type 1 (MEN-1)), and three had nesidioblastosis. In total, 20 patients (31%) developed postoperative drainage of high amylase containing fluid, which in all but three cases resolved with conservative therapy. The three patients who developed fistulas and the three patients who developed pseudocysts underwent reoperative surgery. Seventeen (41%) of the patients who underwent enucleation (10 from the pancreatic head; 50%) and six (25%) of the resected patients demonstrated these complications. Postoperative glucose metabolism was normalized in all patients.


Resection, especially in the head of the pancreas, demonstrates lower complication rates than enucleation. We propose resection for tumors that are large, malignant, situated close to pancreatic duct, and are multiple, including in MEN-1. For tumors in the head, pancreaticoduodenectomy may be an occasional choice.

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