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J Chir (Paris). 2001 Dec;138(6):325-35.

[Pancreatic excisions for chronic pancreatitis and cancer: their rationale for "factual" surgery. Evidence-based medicine].

[Article in French]

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Département de Chirurgie Viscérale et de Transplantation, Université de Zürich, Rämistrasse 100, CH 8091 Zürich.


Despite significant improvement in the results of pancreatoduodenecomy over recent years, the Whipple procedure and its main modifications still has a poor reputation. Based on the principles of evidence-based medicine, we reviewed the current status of pancreatoduodenectomy for pancreatic cancer and chronic pancreatitis. Mortality of pancreatoduodenectomy has declined to less than 5% for chronic pancreatitis and to 3-5% for pancreatic cancer. In contrast, overall morbidity remains high, ranging from 20% to 70%. Delayed gastric emptying accounts for almost 50% of all complications. Major relief of pain is achieved in 70% to 100% of patients with chronic pancreatitis. Overall 5-year survival for patients with pancreatic cancer remains poor, ranging from 5% to 15%, with a median survival of 13 to 17 months. Mortality ad morbidity are not related to the type of pancreatoduodenectomy, however patients with pancreatic cancer tend to have a higher risk for complications. Extended lymph node dissection and portal vein resection can be performed with similar mortality and morbidity compared with standard procedures, however without any survival benefit in the long-term course.

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