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J Pediatr Surg. 2007 Jul;42(7):1203-7.

Surgical treatment of childhood recurrent pancreatitis.

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Division of Pediatric Surgery, Department of Surgery, University of California San Francisco, Box 0570, San Francisco, CA 94143-0570, USA.



Surgical intervention that improves pancreatic ductal drainage is a reasonable treatment strategy for recurrent pancreatitis in children.


This study was approved by the Committee on Human Research (San Francisco, CA). A retrospective chart review was performed on children aged 0 to 17 years given the International Classification of Diseases, Ninth Revision coding diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis who underwent surgical intervention from 1981 to 2005.


From 1981 to 2005, 32 children were treated for the diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis. The etiologies were obstructive (n = 13), idiopathic (n = 10), hereditary (n = 6), medications (n = 2), and infection (n = 1). Fifteen patients underwent 17 operations for chronic pancreatitis, including Puestow (n = 9), cystenterostomy (n = 2), Whipple (n = 1), distal pancreatectomy (n = 1), Frey (n = 1), DuVal (n = 1), excision of enteric duplication cyst (n = 1), and pancreatic ductal dilation (n = 1). The mean age at presentation of patients undergoing surgery was 6.0 +/- 4.1 years (mean +/- SD). The mean time from presentation to operation was 3.3 +/- 3.3 years. There were no deaths after surgical intervention. Of 15 patients, 2 (13%) required rehospitalization within 90 days of surgery, one for bowel obstruction, the other for splenic infarction. The median length of stay postoperatively was 8 days (range, 5-66 days).


Chronic pancreatitis in children differs markedly in etiology when compared with adults. In most cases seen in our institution, chronic pancreatitis resulted from ineffective ductal drainage. These disorders are amenable to surgical decompression, which, ultimately, can prevent disease recurrence.

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