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J Gastrointest Surg. 2007 Aug;11(8):949-59; discussion 959-60.

Long-term outcome after resection for chronic pancreatitis in 224 patients.

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Department of Surgery, University of Freiburg, Hugstetter Str. 55, 79106, Freiburg, Germany.



Organ complications like biliary or duodenal stenosis as well as intractable pain are current indications for surgery in patients with chronic pancreatitis (CP). We present here our experience with pancreatic resection for CP and focus on the long-term outcome after surgery regarding pain, exocrine/endocrine pancreatic function, and the control of organ complications in 224 patients with a median postoperative follow-up period of 56 months.


During 11 years 272 pancreatic resections were performed in our institution for CP. Perioperative mortality was 1%. Follow-up data using at least standardized questionnaires were available in 224 patients. The types of resection in these 224 patients were Whipple (9%), pylorus-preserving pancreato-duodenectomy (PD) (PPPD; 40%), duodenum-preserving pancreatic head resection (DPPHR; 41%, 50 Frey, 42 Beger), distal (9%) and two central pancreatic resections. Eighty-six of the patients were part of a randomized study comparing PPPD and DPPHR. The perioperative and follow-up (f/up) data were prospectively documented. Exocrine insufficiency was regarded as the presence of steatorrhea and/or the need for oral enzyme supplementation. Multivariate analysis was performed using binary logistic regression.


Perioperative surgical morbidity was 28% and did not differ between the types of resection. At last f/up 87% of the patients were pain-free (60%) or had pain less frequently than once per week (27%). Thirteen percent had frequent pain, at least once per week (no difference between the operative procedures). A concomitant exocrine insufficiency and former postoperative surgical complications were the strongest independent risk factors for pain and frequent pain at follow-up. At the last f/up 65% had exocrine insufficiency, half of them developed it during the postoperative course. The presence of regional or generalized portal hypertension, a low preoperative body mass index, and a longer preoperative duration of CP were independent risk factors for exocrine insufficiency. Thirty-seven percent of the patients without preoperative diabetes developed de novo diabetes during f/up (no risk factor identified). Both, exocrine and endocrine insufficiencies were independent of the type of surgery. Median weight gain was 2 kg and higher in patients with preoperative malnutrition and in patients without abdominal pain. After PPPD, 8% of the patients had peptic jejunal ulcers, whereas 4% presented with biliary complications after DPPHR. Late mortality was analyzed in 233 patients. Survival rates after pancreatic resection for CP were 86% after 5 years and 65% after 10 years.


Pancreatic resection leads to adequate pain control in the majority of patients with CP. Long-term outcome does not depend on the type of surgical procedure but is in part influenced by severe preoperative CP and by postoperative surgical complications (regarding pain). A few patients develop procedure-related late complications. Late mortality is high, probably because of the high comorbidity (alcohol, smoking) in many of these patients.

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