Background: Splenic preservation during a distal pancreatectomy (SPDP) may be performed with splenic vessel ligation, known as Warshaw's Technique (WT) or splenic vessel preservation (SVP). The consensus on which approach is best is divided. A systematic review of evidence in the literature was undertaken with the aim of analysing the merits and disadvantages of both WT and SVP.
Methods: A systematic search of medical literature from 1985-2011 was undertaken to identify all comparative studies and case series on SPDP. Non-English papers, series with < 5 patients, technical reports and reviews were excluded. The remaining articles were reviewed considering the study design, surgical technique, outcomes and complications.
Results: In 23 relevant studies, 356 patients underwent WT and 572 underwent SVP. In WT patients, the mean operating time (160 versus 215 min, P < 0.001), mean estimated blood loss (301 versus 390 ml, P < 0.001) and length of stay (8 versus 11 days, P < 0.001) was significantly less than the SVP patients, respectively. Considering complications, splenic infarction and splenectomy occurred more frequently in WT patients (P < 0.05).
Discussion: WT is technically easier to perform than SVP but has a higher incidence of subsequent splenectomies. Surgeons should be able to perform both procedures and tailor the technique according to the patient.
© 2012 International Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary Association.