Background: Studies have been published comparing spleen-preserving distal pancreatectomy (SPDP) with distal pancreatectomy with splenectomy (DPS), but the results remain inconsistent. The aim of this study was to compare SPDP with DPS by conducting a systematic review and meta-analysis.
Methods: Literature searches of the Medline/PubMed, Embase, and Cochrane Library databases were performed to identify relevant studies published before April 30,2015. Perioperative outcomes of SPDP and DPS were evaluated. The meta-analysis was performed in random- or fixed-effects models, as appropriate. A subanalysis was conducted to compare the two techniques of splenic preservation: splenic vessel preservation (SVP) and Warshaw technique (WT).
Results: Eighteen studies and 1156 patients were included in the comparison between SPDP and DPS. A total of 502 of these patients underwent SPDP and 654 underwent DPS. Meta-analysis showed the SPDP group had significantly fewer infectious complications (odds ratio [OR] 0.57, P = 0.006), less operative blood loss (P<0.0001), lower overall morbidity rate (OR 0.66, P = 0.002), and lower clinical pancreatic fistula rate (OR 0.42, P = 0.002) than the DPS group. Subanalysis indicated the SVP group had significantly lower rate of spleen infarction (OR 0.12, P<0.00001) and fewer secondary splenectomies (OR 0.13, P = 0.008) than the WT group.
Conclusions: SPDP was a safe procedure associated with better short-term outcomes than DPS. SVP could provide more sufficient blood perfusion for the conserved spleen than WT. However, the evidence is limited, and more randomized controlled trials are warranted.