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J Gastrointest Surg. 2009 Dec;13(12):2163-9. doi: 10.1007/s11605-009-1046-9. Epub 2009 Sep 23.

A matched case-control study of preoperative biliary drainage in patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma: routine drainage is not justified.

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Department of Surgery, Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, 1275 York Avenue, New York, NY 10065, USA.



Preoperative biliary drainage (PBD) prior to pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD) continues to be routine in many centers despite retrospective and randomized data showing that PBD increases perioperative infectious complications.


Review of a prospectively maintained database identified 340 consecutive patients with pancreatic adenocarcinoma who underwent PD between 2000 and 2005. From this cohort, 94 PBD and 94 nonstented (no-PBD) patients were matched for age, gender, preoperative albumin, and bilirubin levels (PBD group: prestent bilirubin; no-PBD group: preoperative bilirubin).


The majority of PBD patients (89%) underwent internal endoscopic biliary drainage. Stent-related complications occurred in 46 patients (23%) and resulted in a significant delay in time to resection. In the matched-pair comparison, there was more operative blood loss in PBD patients, but similar operative times, transfusions, and hospital stay. Bile cultures were positive in 82% of PBD patients versus 7% no PBD. There was a statistically significant increase in infectious complications including wound infections and intra-abdominal abscess in PBD patients, but equal incidence of anastomotic leak.


In this case-matched control study, PBD was associated with a stent-related complication rate of 23% and resulted in a twofold increase in postpancreatectomy infectious complications. The routine use of PBD remains unjustified.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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