Duct drainage alone is sufficient in the operative management of pancreatic pseudocyst in patients with chronic pancreatitis

William H Nealon, Eric Walser
Annals of Surgery 2003, 237 (5): 614-20; discussion 620-2

OBJECTIVE: To test a hypothesis that definitive management of pseudocyst associated with chronic pancreatitis is predicated on addressing pancreatic ductal anatomy.

SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: The authors have previously confirmed the impact of pancreatic ductal anatomic abnormalities on the success of percutaneous drainage of pancreatic pseudocyst. The authors have further defined a system to categorize the pancreatic ductal abnormalities that can be seen with pancreatic pseudocyst. The authors have published, as have others, the usefulness of defining ductal anatomy when managing pancreatic pseudocysts associated with chronic pancreatitis.

METHODS: Beginning in 1985, all patients with pseudocyst who were candidates for intervention (operative, percutaneous, or endoscopic) have undergone endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). An associated diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis was established by means of ERCP findings. Patients were candidates for longitudinal pancreaticojejunostomy (LPJ) if they had a pancreatic ductal diameter greater than 7 mm. In a nonrandomized fashion, patients were managed with either combined simultaneous LPJ and pseudocyst drainage or with LPJ alone.

RESULTS: Two hundred fifty-three patients with pseudocyst have been evaluated. Among these there have been 103 patients with chronic pancreatitis and main pancreatic duct (MPD) dilatation (>7 mm). Among these 103 patients, 56 underwent combined LPJ/pseudocyst drainage and 47 had LPJ alone. Compared to combined LPJ/pseudocyst drainage, the patients undergoing LPJ alone had a shorter operative time, slightly less transfusion requirement, slightly reduced length of hospital stay, and slightly reduced complication rate. Long-term pain relief was achieved in 90%, and pseudocyst recurrence was less than 1%. Rates of each of these long-term outcomes were nearly incidental among the two groups.

CONCLUSIONS: Ductal drainage alone (LPJ) is sufficient in patients with chronic pancreatitis (MPD > 7 mm) and an associated pseudocyst. Simultaneous drainage of pseudocyst is not necessary.

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