Total pancreatectomy for cancer. An appraisal of 65 cases

Ann Surg. 1977 Dec;186(6):675-80. doi: 10.1097/00000658-197712000-00002.


Sixty-five patients operated with total pancreatectomy were reviewed with respect to factors influencing operative mortality and morbidity, long-term survival, and metabolic sequelae. The diagnoses were pancreatic cancer in 58 patients, periampullary cancer in three, cancer of the bile duct in two and leiomyosarcoma of the duodenum and cystadenocarcinoma of the pancreas in one patient, respectively. In nine of the 58 cases with cancer of the caput, the histological examination revealed multicentricity of the tumor. In 44%, there were signs of degeneration and fibrosis in the distal part of the gland. Hospital mortality was 23% for the entire series. After 1970 the hospital mortality was 17%, and among patients operated by senior surgeons especially trained in pancreatic surgery, the hospital mortality was 12% during the whole period. The peroperative bilirubin levels seemed to influence survival time. Among 24 patients operated before 1975 in whom the operating surgeon judged the operation as radical, a five year survival of 21% was recorded. In patients without detectable lymph node metastases, the mean survival time was 25 months. The postoperative exocrine insufficiency and diabetes were possible to control. A blood sugar level above 10 micromol/l was found to significantly decrease the frequency of hypoglycemic attacks. Total pancreatectomy appears to be the surgical procedure preferred when radical treatment is selected.

MeSH terms

  • Aged
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Hypoglycemia / etiology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatectomy / methods*
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / complications
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / mortality
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / pathology
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / surgery*
  • Postoperative Complications