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J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Tech A. 2010 May;20(4):373-7. doi: 10.1089/lap.2009.0247.

Laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy in children: four cases and review of the literature.

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Department of Pediatric Surgery, Monroe Carell Jr. Children's Hospital at Vanderbilt, Nashville, Tennessee, USA.



Laparoscopy has been utilized for children with pancreatic masses and blunt transection. In this article, we report our technique and experience.


With supine positioning, an umbilical trocar and three 5-mm trocars are positioned across the epigastrium. The gastrocolic ligament is opened completely and the stomach is retracted superiorly. A vessel-sealing electrosurgical device is used to dissect along the inferior margin of the pancreas. Dissection proceeds proximally or distally, depending on the location of the pathology. The proximal pancreatic duct is oversewn or stapled closed. The distal pancreas is mobilized from the splenic vessels. If the vessels cannot be mobilized from the pancreas, they are divided and a laparoscopic splenectomy is performed. The specimen is removed through the umbilical trocar by using a retrieval bag. Drains are placed prior to closure. CASE EXPERIENCE: We report 4 cases: 2 with pseudopapillary tumors and 2 with traumatic injuries. One patient was male; the mean age was 13.0 +/- 1.4 years. Two spleens were removed due to pathology. Mean operative time was 256 +/- 46.6 minutes, with no open conversion or mortality. Patients initiated oral intake 2.0 +/- 1.4 days postoperatively. Hospital stay was 6.2 +/- 3.9 days. One patient required 15 days of total parenteral nutrition to resolve a pancreatic fistula.


Laparoscopic pancreatic resection in children is feasible, safe, and leads to rapid recovery without significant morbidity. The spleen can often be spared, minimizing the risk of overwhelming postsplenectomy sepsis. This initial experience should encourage wider use of laparoscopy for pancreatic resection in children.

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