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Ann Surg. 2002 Aug;236(2):149-58.

Therapeutic laparoscopy of the pancreas.

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Center for MIS, Department of Surgery, University of Kentucky, Lexington, Kentucky 40536-0293, USA.



To communicate results of laparoscopic treatment of pancreatic pseudocyst (PP) and resection of benign lesions of the pancreas. Perioperative data, surgical outcomes, techniques and insights from 54 cases are presented.


Although laparoscopic therapy for other solid organs has been widely adopted, reports of therapeutic laparoscopy of the pancreas have been few and of limited numbers, and its role in pancreatic disease is still unclear.


Eighteen men and 11 women were selected for laparoscopic PP surgery. Four distinct laparoscopic approaches were used. An additional 9 men and 16 women underwent laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy (LDP) using a technique similar to the lesser sac approach.


Laparoscopic PP surgery was completed successfully in 28 of 29 patients. The overall mean operative time was 2.8 hours and the mean postoperative length of stay was 4.4 days. Of the techniques described, the authors prefer cyst gastrostomy by the lesser sac approach or the minilaparoscopic cystic gastrostomy. LDP was attempted in 25 patients and completed successfully in 23. One underwent a successful hand-assisted enucleation of an insulinoma. In 12 cases the spleen was preserved. Mean operative time was 3.7 hours, and mean postoperative length of stay was 4.1 days.


In the authors' experience, minimally invasive treatment of PP produces good results and avoids difficulties linked with percutaneous drainage or endoscopic internal procedures. However, combining upper endoscopy with intragastric laparoscopic surgery offers advantages of both. LDP compares well to open procedures and often allows preservation of the spleen.

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