Bovine pericardium for portal vein reconstruction in abdominal surgery: a surgical guide and first experiences in a single center

Dig Surg. 2015;32(2):135-41. doi: 10.1159/000370008. Epub 2015 Mar 13.


Background: Resection and reconstruction of infiltrated vessels achieve resectability of extended pancreatic tumors. The aim of the present study was to assess the feasibility of bovine pericardium as graft material for the individualised portal vein reconstruction and demonstrate a surgical technique for abdominal vein repair.

Methods: We performed a MEDLINE search to review the methods for complex abdominal vein reconstruction in the course of extended pancreatectomy. Moreover, clinical data of patients receiving portal vein reconstruction using a bovine pericardial patch at our institution were retrospectively analyzed.

Results: Based on the results of a review of the literature, autologous venous grafts using the internal jugular vein represent the most popular option for segmental portal vein reconstruction in case of impossible direct suture. At our center, segmental portal vein reconstruction with bovine pericardial patch in course of pancreatic surgery was performed in 4 patients. No case of vascular complications such as occlusion, segmental stenosis or thrombosis occurred.

Conclusions: Our experience suggests a surgical procedure for an individual size-matched portal vein reconstruction using bovine pericardium. Although first results appear promising, prospective studies are required to objectively assess the patency of bovine pericardium compared with autologous and synthetic interposition grafts for portal vein reconstruction.

Publication types

  • Evaluation Study
  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Adenocarcinoma / pathology
  • Adenocarcinoma / surgery*
  • Aged
  • Animals
  • Cattle
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Neoplasm Invasiveness
  • Pancreatectomy*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Pericardium / transplantation*
  • Portal Vein / pathology
  • Portal Vein / surgery*
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Transplantation, Heterologous / methods*
  • Vascular Grafting / methods*