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J Laparoendosc Adv Surg Tech A. 2019 Feb;29(2):167-177. doi: 10.1089/lap.2018.0738. Epub 2018 Dec 28.

Impact of Spleen Preserving Laparoscopic Distal Pancreatectomy on Postoperative Infectious Complications: Systematic Review and Meta-Analysis.

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Division of General Surgery IRCCS Policlinico San Donato, Department of Biomedical Science for Health, University of Milan, Milan, Italy.



Laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy with splenectomy is the standard procedure for body and tail pancreatic tumors. Technical difficulties arising from the strict anatomical relationship between pancreas and splenic vessels generally impose a concomitant splenectomy. Previous retrospective studies have shown a reduced risk of postoperative complications and infections in spleen preserved patients, but this is still a debated issue. Aim of this systematic review and meta-analysis was to provide a more robust evidence on the effect of spleen preserving laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy.


PubMed, MEDLINE, Embase, and Cochrane databases were consulted. Pooled effect measures were calculated using an inverse-variance weighted or Mantel-Haenszel in random effects meta-analysis. Heterogeneity was evaluated using I2-index and Cochran Q-test.


Ten observational studies were eligible, and 632 patients were included in the quantitative analysis. Overall, 296 (46.8%) patients underwent laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy with splenectomy (Group S), and 336 (53.2%) patients underwent spleen-preserving laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy (Group SP). In-hospital mortality was 0%. In the group S, the estimated pooled odds ratio of postoperative surgical site infection (SSI) and overall complications was 1.51 (95% confidence interval [CI]: 1.01-2.28; P = .048) and 2.30 (95% CI: 1.11-4.76; P = .024). The estimated pooled odds ratio of pancreatic fistula, postoperative bleeding, and reoperation was 1.64 (P = .094), 1.01 (P = .987), and 1.24 (P = .776), respectively.


Spleen-preserving laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy may reduce postoperative SSI and overall complications. These results should be interpreted with caution but seem meaningful to establish a better evidence-based treatment for distal pancreatic tumors. Further studies are warranted to analyze the role of spleen preserving laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy on long-term outcomes.


laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy; outcomes; spleen preservation; splenectomy; surgical site infection

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