Conversion to open laparotomy during laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy: lessons from a single-center experience in 70 consecutive patients



The purpose of this study was to determine the factors influencing conversion from laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy (LDP) to open surgery, and the effect of such conversion on the outcome.


This retrospective single-center study included 70 consecutive patients undergoing LDP. The primary endpoint was the rate of conversion to open surgery during LDP. The secondary endpoints were determining the reasons for conversion to open surgery, with detailed analyses of these cases and a comparison of the surgical outcome with and without conversion.


Seven patients (10%) required conversion to open surgery during LDP. Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma (PDAC) was identified as a risk factor for conversion (p = 0.010). The reasons for conversion included technical difficulty (two bleeding, one severe adhesion) and pancreatic stump-related issues (two margin-positive, two stapling failures). Although the overall morbidity rate (29 vs. 11%, p = 0.48) and the rate of clinically relevant postoperative pancreatic fistula (14 vs. 5%, p = 0.82) were no different for the patients with or without open conversion, the postoperative hospital stay was significantly longer in the former (median 15 vs. 10 days, p = 0.03).


Careful preoperative assessment is required when planning LDP for PDAC. Although conversion to open surgery does not result in failure of LDP, efforts to reduce the duration of postoperative hospital stay and the occurrence of complications are desirable to improve the outcome of LDP.

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Correspondence to Ippei Matsumoto.

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Matsumoto, I., Kamei, K., Satoi, S. et al. Conversion to open laparotomy during laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy: lessons from a single-center experience in 70 consecutive patients. Surg Today (2020).

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  • Conversion to open surgery
  • Laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy
  • Laparoscopic pancreatectomy