Surgical therapy of celiac axis and superior mesenteric artery syndrome

Langenbecks Arch Surg. 2023 Jan 24;408(1):59. doi: 10.1007/s00423-023-02803-w.


Introduction: Compression syndromes of the celiac artery (CAS) or superior mesenteric artery (SMAS) are rare conditions that are difficult to diagnose; optimal treatment remains complex, and symptoms often persist after surgery. We aim to review the literature on surgical treatment and postoperative outcome in CAS and SMAS syndrome.

Methods: A systematic literature review of medical literature databases on the surgical treatment of CAS and SMAS syndrome was performed from 2000 to 2022. Articles were included according to PROSPERO guidelines. The primary endpoint was the failure-to-treat rate, defined as persistence of symptoms at first follow-up.

Results: Twenty-three studies on CAS (n = 548) and 11 on SMAS (n = 168) undergoing surgery were included. Failure-to-treat rate was 28% for CAS and 21% for SMAS. Intraoperative blood loss was 95 ml (0-217) and 31 ml (21-50), respectively, and conversion rate was 4% in CAS patients and 0% for SMAS. Major postoperative morbidity was 2% for each group, and mortality was described in 0% of CAS and 0.4% of SMAS patients. Median length of stay was 3 days (1-12) for CAS and 5 days (1-10) for SMAS patients. Consequently, 47% of CAS and 5% of SMAS patients underwent subsequent interventions for persisting symptoms.

Conclusion: Failure of surgical treatment was observed in up to every forth patient with a high rate of subsequent interventions. A thorough preoperative work-up with a careful patient selection is of paramount importance. Nevertheless, the surgical procedure was associated with a beneficial risk profile and can be performed minimally invasive.

Keywords: Dunbar; Failure to treat; Median arcuate ligament syndrome; Superior mesenteric artery syndrome; Surgery; Wilkie.

Publication types

  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Anastomosis, Surgical / methods
  • Celiac Artery / surgery
  • Humans
  • Mesenteric Artery, Superior* / surgery
  • Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome* / diagnosis
  • Superior Mesenteric Artery Syndrome* / surgery