Purpose: The treatment of complete pancreatic transection (CPT) from blunt trauma remains controversial. To determine the natural history and long-term outcome of nonoperative management of CPT, we analyzed all such patients over the last 10 years at a level I trauma center.
Methods: Retrospective analysis between 1990 and 1999 was performed on 10 consecutive patients. Complete records were available for 9 patients. Data pertaining to their trauma admission, plus long-term radiologic and clinical outcome were analyzed.
Results: There were 6 boys and 3 girls with a median age of 8 years (range, 4 to 16 years) and a median injury severity score (ISS) of 25. All patients displayed CPT on admission computed tomography (CT) scan. Four patients (44%) had associated intraabdominal injuries, but only 2 were significant. All patients were treated nonoperatively. Four patients (44%) had pseudocysts, and 3 required percutaneous drainage. Other complications included a single drainage of subphrenic collection, 1 inadvertent removal of drainage catheter, and 2 cases of line sepsis. The duration of percutaneous drainage was 14 to 60 days. The median length of hospitalization was 24 days (range, 6 to 52 days). After median follow up of 47 months, no patients showed exocrine or endocrine insufficiency. One patient had abdominal pain not related to the pancreatic injury. Follow-up abdominal CT scans in 8 of 9 patients showed complete atrophy of the body and tail in 6 patients and 2 completely normal glands.
Conclusions: Pancreatic transection is rare and commonly is found in isolation of other major abdominal injuries. No patients required surgery for their pancreatic transection. Pseudocysts can be managed effectively with percutaneous drainage. After a median follow-up of 47 months, no patients had endocrine or exocrine dysfunction. Anatomically, the distal body and tail usually atrophies; however, occasionally, the gland can heal and appear to recanalize. To the authors' knowledge, this is the first report to show the effectiveness of nonoperative management after complete pancreatic transection.
Copyright 2001 by W.B. Saunders Company.