A review of splenic pathology in distal pancreatectomies

Jill K Onesti, Mathew H Chung, Deepali H Jain, Misty M Stafford, Payal P Attawala
Pancreatology: Official Journal of the International Association of Pancreatology (IAP) ... [et Al.] 2013, 13 (6): 625-8

OBJECTIVES: Splenectomy is often performed during distal pancreatectomy for malignancy, yet little data exist demonstrating splenic involvement in distal pancreatic pathology.

METHODS: We retrospectively reviewed 81 distal pancreatectomies performed for suspected or known pancreatic malignancies from 6/1/05 to 7/6/11. Exclusion criteria included metastatic disease, previous splenic preserving distal pancreatectomy, or planned en-bloc resection, leaving 47 cases. Data collected included spleen, hilar lymph node, or splenic vessel involvement by malignancy as confirmed by final pathology report. This was correlated with preoperative computed tomography (CT).

RESULTS: Final pathology showed adenocarcinoma in 10 (21%) patients. Three patients with adenocarcinoma had invasion of the spleen, splenic vessels or nodes on pathology. The first involved the splenic flexure, necessitating en-bloc colon resection. The second had splenic artery involvement as identified by CT, but no malignancy within the spleen. The third had direct extension to one of 11 peri-splenic nodes with significant inflammatory reaction noted intraoperatively.

CONCLUSIONS: Splenectomy is not mandated for all distal pancreatic tumors, and the spleen can be preserved in an overwhelming majority of cases. Pre- and intraoperative factors can adequately identify the necessity of splenectomy, and the approach should be tailored to individual patients.

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