Background: The reported experience with laparoscopic pancreatic resections (LPR) remains limited to case reports or small series of patients.
Methods: A retrospective multicenter study was conducted in 25 European surgical centers concerning their experience with LPR. Detailed questionnaires were used, focusing on patients, tumors, operative data, and late outcome.
Results: During the study period, 127 patients with presumed pancreatic neoplasms were enrolled in this series. Final diagnoses included benign pancreatic diseases in 111 patients (87%; insulinoma: 22, neuroendocrine neoplasm: 20, mucinous cystadenoma: 26, serous cystadenoma: 21, chronic pancreatitis: 11, others: 11), and 16 patients (13%) had malignant pancreatic diseases (insulinoma: 3, neuroendocrine neoplasm: 5, ductal adenocarcinoma: 4, cystadenocarcinoma: 2, renal metastases: 2). Five patients with presumed benign pancreatic disease had malignancy at final pathology. The median tumor size was 30 mm (range, 5-120 mm); 89% of tumors were located in the left pancreas. Laparoscopically successful procedures included 21 enucleations, 24 distal splenopancreatectomies, 58 distal pancreatectomies with splenic preservation, and 3 pancreatoduodenal resections. The overall conversion rate was 14%. There were no postoperative deaths. The rate of overall postoperative pancreatic-related complications was 31%, including a 17% rate of clinical pancreatic fistula. The surgical reoperation rate was 6.3%. In laparoscopically successful operations, the median postoperative hospital stay was 7 days (range, 3-67 days), decreased compared with patients requiring conversion to open pancreatectomy. During a median follow-up of 15 months (range, 3-47 months), 23% of the patients with pancreatic malignancies had tumor recurrence. Late outcome was satisfactory in all patients with benign diseases.
Conclusions: LPR is feasible and safe in selected patients with presumed benign and distal pancreatic tumors. The management of the pancreatic stump remains a challenge. The role of LPR for pancreatic malignancies remains controversial.