Background: Surgeons are often called upon to perform pancreaticoduodenectomy for either suspicion of malignancy or symptoms due to benign disease. Perioperative morbidity and mortality following pancreaticoduodenectomy have decreased markedly over the last 2 decades. In response, many surgical centers advocate expanding the indications for pancreaticoduodenectomy to include lesions other than periampullary carcinoma.
Patients and methods: A retrospective review of medical records for 108 patients undergoing pancreaticoduodenectomy for benign disease at The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions over 100 months was completed. The subset of patients with a histopathologic diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis was identified and compared with patients undergoing pancreaticoduodenectomy for other benign conditions.
Results: The mortality rate for the present series was less than 1%. Perioperative complications, the majority of which were self-limited, occurred in 51% of patients. The most common complication was delayed gastric emptying. Pancreatic anastamotic leak occurred in 18% of patients and developed significantly more frequently in patients with benign diseases other than chronic pancreatitis (31% versus 8%, P < 0.05).
Conclusion: Among appropriately selected patients, the rates of perioperative mortality and serious morbidity are low, and concerns about mortality and morbidity should not prevent an aggressive approach to surgical resection in patients with benign disease.