What is the role of distal pancreatectomy in the treatment of pancreatic cancer?

Updated: Mar 07, 2019
  • Author: Tomislav Dragovich, MD, PhD; Chief Editor: N Joseph Espat, MD, MS, FACS  more...
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Answer

This procedure possesses a lower mortality rate than the standard Whipple procedure does, at 3.5%, but its use in curative resection remains limited. [81] Essentially, a distal pancreatectomy may be an effective procedure for tumors located in the body and tail of the pancreas. Unfortunately, masses located in this area present later than the periampullary tumors and hence have a higher unresectability rate.

The procedure involves isolation of the distal portion of the pancreas containing the tumor, followed by resection of that segment, with oversewing of the distal pancreatic duct. The main complications for distal pancreatectomy involve pancreatic stump leak, hemorrhage, and endocrine insufficiency. [87] Once again, the best treatment for the pancreatic leak is adequate drainage.


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