Background/aims: This article aims to describe the different techniques of laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy and to compare the results of our series of 9 laparoscopic resections against the historical open control in the same institution. With the advent of laparoscopic surgery, there is an increasing number of patients with different pancreatic pathologies that can now be managed by minimal access surgery. The initial results of laparoscopic pancreatectomy are quite promising particularly for those small neuroendocrine and cystic neoplasms located at the body and tail of pancreas.
Methodology: The different techniques of laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy are described in detail with special emphasis on the need of "hand assistance" and the different methods of splenic preservation. The perioperative data of 9 laparoscopic distal pancreatectomies are analyzed and compared against the 5 historical open controls in the same institution.
Results: There were 9 laparoscopic pancreatic resections performed in our institution since 1999. Indications for surgery included 5 cystic neoplasms (1 patient with concomitant splenic artery aneurysm), 1 chronic pancreatitis with pancreatic duct stricture and a small pseudocyst, 1 pseudopancreatic tumor secondary to seal off perforated posterior gastric ulcer, 1 pseudopapillary tumor and 1 neuroendocrine tumor. There were 6 females and 3 males with median age of 61 years (range 18-79). The majority of patients was of low anesthetic risk (ASA 1 or 2). Total laparoscopic resection was performed in 7 cases and 2 resections were performed using the hand-assisting technique. Out of the 4 cases with splenic preservation, only one patient had both splenic artery and vein successfully preserved, whereas the other 3 cases had to rely on the short gastric arcade. Median operating time was 180 minutes (range 120-250) and median blood loss was 100cc (range 50-500). Pancreatic leak occurred in two patients (22.2%) and 1 patient developed intraabdominal collection, all of which settled upon conservative treatment. In our series, clear resection margin was obtained for all the neoplastic cases. Median hospital stay was 7 days (4-53). Postoperatively, patients consumed an average of 15 tablets of dologesic. No other complications were observed upon a median follow-up of 15 months (1-50). When results were compared to the 5 historical open controls (excluding those malignant tumors), patients managed with this new approach had significantly less intraoperative blood loss (100 vs. 450 mL, P = 0.021).
Conclusions: Our initial experience not only confirmed the feasibility oflaparoscopic pancreatectomy, but also demonstrated the promising results of this approach in selected patients.