Incidence and management of postoperative hyperglycemia in patients undergoing insulinoma resection

Endocrine. 2018 Sep;61(3):422-427. doi: 10.1007/s12020-018-1633-1. Epub 2018 Jun 19.


Purpose: It has been proposed that rebound hyperglycemia after resection of insulinoma indicates a biochemical cure. However, there is scant objective data in the literature on the rate and need for intervention in hyperglycemia in patients undergoing resection of insulinoma. The goal of our study was to evaluate the rate of postoperative hyperglycemia, any predisposing factors, and the need for intervention in a prospective cohort study of all patients undergoing routine glucose monitoring.

Methods: A retrospective analysis of 33 patients who had an insulinoma resected and who underwent routine postoperative monitoring of blood glucose (every hour for the first six hours then every four hours for the first 24 h) was performed. Hyperglycemia was defined as glucose greater than 180 mg/dL (10 mmol/l).

Results: Twelve patients (36%) developed hyperglycemia within 24 h (range 1-16 h). In patients with hyperglycemia, the mean maximum plasma glucose level was 221.5 mg/dL (range 97-325 mg/dL) (12.3 mmol/l), and four (33%) patients were treated with insulin. There was no significant difference in age, gender, body mass index (BMI), tumor size, biochemical profile, or surgical approach and extent of pancreatectomy between patients who developed hyperglycemia and those who did not. Pre-excision and post-excision intraoperative insulin levels were evaluated in 14 of 33 patients. The percentage decrease of the intraoperative insulin levels was not significantly different between patients who developed hyperglycemia and those who did not. All patients with postoperative hyperglycemia had normalization of their glucose levels, and none were discharged on anti-hyperglycemic agents.

Conclusions: Hyperglycemia is common after insulinoma resection, and a subset of patients require transient treatment with insulin.

Keywords: Hyperglycemia; Insulinoma; Pancreatic neuroendocrine tumor; Surgery.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Blood Glucose
  • Digestive System Surgical Procedures / adverse effects*
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hyperglycemia / drug therapy
  • Hyperglycemia / epidemiology*
  • Hyperglycemia / etiology
  • Hypoglycemic Agents / therapeutic use*
  • Incidence
  • Insulin / therapeutic use*
  • Insulinoma / surgery*
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications / drug therapy
  • Postoperative Complications / epidemiology
  • Postoperative Period
  • Retrospective Studies


  • Blood Glucose
  • Hypoglycemic Agents
  • Insulin