Background: In about 30% of patients, chronic pancreatitis leads to an inflammatory enlargement of the pancreatic head with subsequent obstruction of the pancreatic duct, common bile duct, and duodenum.
Methods: In a prospective, randomized controlled trial, we compared duodenum-preserving pancreatic head resection (DPPHR) with pylorus-preserving Whipple (PPW) operation to define the advantages of each operation with regard to (1) postoperative complications, (2) glucose tolerance and induction of diabetes mellitus, and (3) postoperative pain and quality of life up to 6 months after operation for chronic pancreatitis.
Results: The two study groups of 20 patients were both well balanced with regard to sex, age, history of chronic pancreatitis, and indication for surgery. Postoperative mortality was zero. After duodenum-preserving and pylorus-preserving resection, morbidity was 15% and 20%, respectively. After 6 months, patients who underwent the duodenum-preserving resection had less pain, greater weight gain, a better glucose tolerance, and a higher insulin secretion capacity.
Conclusion: The DPPHR compares favorably with the standard PPW operation and should be considered as an alternative procedure in the treatment of chronic pancreatitis.