Longitudinal V-shaped excision of the ventral pancreas for small duct disease in severe chronic pancreatitis: prospective evaluation of a new surgical procedure

J R Izbicki, C Bloechle, D C Broering, T Kuechler, C E Broelsch
Annals of Surgery 1998, 227 (2): 213-9

OBJECTIVE: The technique of longitudinal V-shaped excision of the ventral pancreas for small duct chronic pancreatitis is presented and its efficacy in terms of pain relief and improvement of quality of life is evaluated.

SUMMARY BACKGROUND DATA: Small duct chronic pancreatitis has been regarded as a classical indication for more or less extensive resection, in which the therapeutic success of pain relief is offset by the considerable risk of significant perioperative mortality and morbidity and the burden of substantial loss of pancreatic function.

METHODS: Thirteen patients with severe pain who were diagnosed with small duct pancreatitis (defined as maximal Wirsungian ductal diameter of 2 mm) underwent longitudinal V-shaped excision of the ventral pancreas. In addition to routine pancreatic workup, a multidimensional psychometric quality-of-life questionnaire and a pain score were used. Assessment of exocrine and endocrine function included fecal chymotrypsin and the pancreolauryl test as well as oral glucose tolerance, serum concentrations of insulin, C-peptide, and hemoglobin A1c. The interval between symptoms and surgery ranged from 12 months to 10 years (mean, 5.4 years). Median follow-up was 30 months (range, 12-48 months).

RESULTS: There were no deaths. Overall morbidity was 15.4%. In 92% of patients, complete relief of symptoms was obtained. Median pain score decreased by 95%. Physical status, working ability, and emotional and social functioning scores improved by 40%, 50%, 67%,, and 75%, respectively. Global quality-of-life index increased by 67%. Occupational rehabilitation was achieved in 69% of patients. Exocrine and endocrine pancreatic function was well preserved.

CONCLUSIONS: In small duct chronic pancreatitis, longitudinal V-shaped excision of the ventral pancreas is a safe and effective alternative to resection procedures. The new technique provides pain relief and improvement of quality of life, thus offering the benefit of a resection procedure without its burden.

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