Background: Postoperative pancreatic fistula (PPF) is the most frequent and serious complication after laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy (LDP). Our goal was to compare the performance, in terms of PPF prevention, and safety of a radiofrequency (RF)-assisted transection device versus a stapler device in a porcine LDP model.
Methods: Thirty-two animals were randomly divided into two groups to perform LDP using a RF-assisted device (RF group; n = 16) and stapler device (ST group; n = 16) and necropsied 4 weeks after surgery. The primary endpoint was the incidence of PPF. Secondary endpoints were surgery/transection time, intra/postoperative complications/deaths, postoperative plasmatic amylase and glucose concentration, peritoneal liquid amylase and interleukin 6 (IL-6) concentrations, weight variations, and histopathological changes.
Results: Two clinical and one biochemical PPF were observed in the ST and RF groups respectively. Peritoneal amylase concentration was significantly higher in the RF group 4 days after surgery, but this difference was no longer present at necropsy. Both groups presented a significant decrease in peritoneal IL-6 concentration during the postoperative follow-up, with no differences between the groups. RF group animals showed a higher postoperative weight gain. In the histopathological exam, all RF group animals showed a common pattern of central coagulative necrosis of the parenchymal surface, surrounded by a thick fibrosis, which sealed main and secondary pancreatic ducts and was not found in ST group.
Conclusions: The fibrosis caused by an RF-assisted device can be at least as safe and effective as stapler compression to achieve pancreatic parenchyma sealing in a porcine LDP model.