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J Gastrointest Surg. 2012 Jul;16(7):1347-53. doi: 10.1007/s11605-012-1893-7. Epub 2012 Apr 24.

Pancreatic enucleation: improved outcomes compared to resection.

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Department of Surgery, Indiana University School of Medicine, 535 Barnhill Drive, RT 130D, Indianapolis, IN, USA.



Pancreatic enucleation is associated with a low operative mortality and preserved pancreatic parenchyma. However, enucleation is an uncommon operation, and good comparative data with resection are lacking. Therefore, the aim of this analysis was to compare the outcomes of pancreatic enucleation and resection.


From 1998 through 2010, 45 consecutive patients with small (mean, 2.3 cm) pancreatic lesions underwent enucleation. These patients were matched with 90 patients undergoing pancreatoduodenectomy (n = 38) or distal pancreatectomy (n = 52). Serious morbidity was defined in accordance with the American College of Surgeons-National Surgical Quality Improvement Program. Outcomes were compared with standard statistical analyses.


Operative time was shorter (183 vs. 271 min, p < 0.01), and operative blood loss was significantly lower (160 vs. 691 ml, p < 0.01) with enucleation. Fewer patients undergoing enucleation required monitoring in an intensive care unit (20% vs. 41%, p < 0.02). Serious morbidity was less common among patients who underwent enucleation compared to those who had a resection (13% vs. 29%, p = 0.05). Pancreatic endocrine (4% vs. 17%, p = 0.05) and exocrine (2% vs. 17%, p < 0.05) insufficiency were less common with enucleation. Ten-year survival was no different between enucleation and resection.


Compared to resection, pancreatic enucleation is associated with improved operative as well as short- and long-term postoperative outcomes. For small benign and premalignant pancreatic lesions, enucleation should be considered the procedure of choice when technically appropriate.

[Indexed for MEDLINE]

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