Background: Conventional surgical management of insulinomas involves an open technique. The laparoscopic approach has advantages in terms of improved postoperative pain and recovery time. This retrospective study evaluated the laparoscopic management of pancreatic insulinomas.
Methods: Between December 2000 and March 2007, 23 patients were referred for consideration of laparoscopic insulinoma resection. Two patients were not deemed appropriate for the laparoscopic approach and were managed with open surgery. All surgery was performed by one experienced pancreatic surgeon. Laparoscopic intraoperative ultrasonography was not available for the first six procedures, but was used thereafter.
Results: Twenty-one patients (five men and 16 women, median age 46 (range 22-70) years) had a successful resection. All had single tumours, five in the head, nine in the body and seven in the tail of the pancreas. One conversion to open operation was performed in a patient with an insulinoma in the head of the pancreas who had dense adhesions resulting from pancreatitis. Three patients developed a postoperative pancreatic fistula. There has been no recurrence of symptoms in any patient.
Conclusion: Laparoscopic management of insulinomas is feasible and safe. Laparoscopic intraoperative ultrasonography is a promising adjunct to the procedure, even after accurate preoperative localization.