Background: This systematic review and meta-analysis aimed to give an overview on the postoperative outcome after a minimally invasive (ie, laparoscopic and robot-assisted) central pancreatectomy and open central pancreatectomy with a specific emphasis on the postoperative pancreatic fistula. For benign and low-grade malignant lesions in the pancreatic neck and body, central pancreatectomy may be an alternative to distal pancreatectomy. Exocrine and endocrine insufficiency occur less often after central pancreatectomy, but the rate of postoperative pancreatic fistula is higher.
Methods: An electronic search was performed for studies on elective minimally invasive central pancreatectomy and open central pancreatectomy, which reported on major morbidity and postoperative pancreatic fistula in PubMed, Cochrane Register, Embase, and Google Scholar until June 1, 2021. A review protocol was developed a priori and registered in PROSPERO as CRD42021259738. A meta-regression was performed by using a random effects model.
Results: Overall, 41 studies were included involving 1,004 patients, consisting of 158 laparoscopic minimally invasive central pancreatectomies, 80 robot-assisted minimally invasive central pancreatectomies, and 766 open central pancreatectomies. The overall rate of postoperative pancreatic fistula was 14%, major morbidity 14%, and 30-day mortality 1%. The rates of postoperative pancreatic fistula (17% vs 24%, P = .194), major morbidity (17% vs 14%, P = .672), and new-onset diabetes (3% vs 6%, P = .353) did not differ significantly between minimally invasive central pancreatectomy and open central pancreatectomy, respectively. Minimally invasive central pancreatectomy was associated with significantly fewer blood transfusions, less exocrine pancreatic insufficiency, and fewer readmissions compared with open central pancreatectomy. A meta-regression was performed with a random effects model between minimally invasive central pancreatectomy and open central pancreatectomy and showed no significant difference for postoperative pancreatic fistula (random effects model 0.16 [0.10; 0.24] with P = .789), major morbidity (random effects model 0.20 [0.15; 0.25] with P = .410), and new-onset diabetes mellitus (random effects model 0.04 [0.02; 0.07] with P = .651).
Conclusion: In selected patients and in experienced hands, minimally invasive central pancreatectomy is a safe alternative to open central pancreatectomy for benign and low-grade malignant lesions of the neck and body. Ideally, further research should confirm this with the main focus on postoperative pancreatic fistula and endocrine and exocrine insufficiency.
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