Background: Pancreatic fistula/PF is the most frequent and feared complication after distal pancreatectomy/DP. However, the safest technique of pancreatic stump closure remains an ongoing debate. Here, we aimed to compare the safety of different pancreatic stump closure techniques for preventing PF during DP.
Methods: We performed a PRISMA-based meta-analysis of all relevant studies that compared at least two techniques of stump closure during DP with regard to PF rates/PFR. We further performed a retrospective analysis of our institutional PFR in correlation with stump closure techniques.
Results: 8301 studies were initially identified. From these, ten randomized controlled trials/RCTs, eleven prospective and 59 retrospective studies were eligible. Stapler closure (26%vs.31%, OR:0.73, p = 0.02), combination of stapler and suture (30%vs.33%, OR:0.70, p = 0.05), or stump anastomosis (14%vs.28%, OR:0.51, p = 0.02) were associated with lower PFR than suture closure alone. Spleen preservation/splenectomy, or laparoscopic/open DP, TachoSil®, fibrin-like glue-application, or bioabsorbable-stapler-reinforcements (Seamguard®) did not influence PFR after DP. In contrast, autologous patches (falciform ligament/seromuscular patches) resulted in lower PFR than no patch application (21.9%vs.25,8%, OR:0.60, p = 0.006). In our institution, the major three techniques of stump closure resulted in comparable PFR (suture:27%, stapler:29%, or combination:24%). However, selective suturing/clipping of the main pancreatic duct during pancreatic stump closure prevented severe PF (p = 0.02).
Conclusion: After DP, stapler closure, pancreatic anastomosis, or falciform/seromuscular patches lead to lower PFR than suture closure alone. However, the differences are rather small, and further RCTs are needed to test these effects. Selective closure of the main pancreatic duct during stump closure may prevent severe PF.