Organ-Preserving Surgery in Chronic Pancreatitis: The Duodenum Preserving Pancreatic Head Resection



Ann. Ital. Chir., LXXI, 1, 2000

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Chronic pancreatitis is a inhomogeneous disease of multifactorial genesis and a variable clinical course. Upper abdominal pain is the leading clinical symptom of the majority of the patients. The primary treatment of these patients is conservative, but if the treatment fails in pain relief or organ complications occur surgical treatment is indicated. The most common organ complications due to chronic pancreatitis are stenosis of the common bile duct and the pancreatic duct, duodenal stenosis, stenosis of the portal vein with portal hypertension, pancreatic pseudocysts and the development of pancreatic fistula. Due to the pathophysiological concept of an elevated duct pressure as a source of pain, duct decompression by drainage procedures is the favored surgical procedure by many surgeons. Nevertheless, even in patients with a dilated pancreatic main duct, only half of the patients will benefit from drainage operations. Longterm severe upper abdominal pain and complications of the neighboring organs due to an inflammatory mass in the head of the pancreas should be indicative for resective procedures which should be organ preserving as much as possible and take into account the endocrine function of the pancreatic gland. Simultaneous multiple organ resections like pylorus preserving partial duodenopancreatectomy or total pancreatectomy are not necessary for a benign disease and should be only performed in patients with proven malignancy. The aim of the surgical procedure is to reduce pain and frequency of relapsing pancreatitis without impairing the endocrine function of the pancreatic gland.