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Laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy: critical analysis of preliminary experience from a tertiary referral centre



Laparoscopic pancreatic surgery has been slow to gain wide acceptance due to the complex pancreatic anatomy and physiology. The aim of this study was to analyze our preliminary results and highlight the impact of centralization on surgeon workload and pancreatic surgical innovation.


A retrospective analysis was performed on all patients who underwent laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy from May 2007 to October 2008.


Laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy was performed in 17 patients during that period. Median operative time was 180 min (range 120–300 min). Median blood loss was 100 ml (range 50–500 ml). Splenectomy was performed in 12 patients. None of the patients was converted to open operation. All patients were kept in high-dependency unit for median duration of 1 day (range 0–1 day). One patient with previous cardiac disease was kept in intensive therapy unit for one night, but discharged home on 7th postoperative day without any complications. Postoperative recovery was uneventful in 13 patients, while four patients had pancreatic leak. One pancreatic leak was observed in the last 11 patients, in which pancreatic stump was oversewn. In three patients, pancreatic leaks (PL) were minor and settled with conservative management, while one patient needed a computed tomography (CT)-guided drainage and subsequent minilaparotomy for wash out of the intra abdominal collection. None of the patients died in this series. Median hospital stay was 5 days (range 4–7 days).


Laparoscopic distal pancreatic resection is feasible, safe, and efficient. However, this surgery should only be performed in specialized centres with extensive experience in pancreatic and laparoscopic surgery. Oversewing the pancreatic stump after transaction with Endostapler may reduce the incidence of pancreatic leak. Centralization of pancreatic surgery has a positive impact on building up surgical expertise, resulting in obvious benefits for both patients and institutions.

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Correspondence to Mohammed Abu Hilal.

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Abu Hilal, M., Jain, G., Kasasbeh, F. et al. Laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy: critical analysis of preliminary experience from a tertiary referral centre. Surg Endosc 23, 2743 (2009). https://doi.org/10.1007/s00464-009-0499-y

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  • Laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pancreatic surgery
  • Pancreatic leak