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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 36

of 'Surgical resection of lesions of the body and tail of the pancreas'

Distal pancreatectomy with preservation of the spleen.
Warshaw AL
J Hepatobiliary Pancreat Sci. 2010;17(6):808. Epub 2009 Oct 31.
Distal pancreatectomy (resection of the pancreatic body and tail) can be performed with or without preservation of the spleen. Splenic preservation has the advantages of fewer postoperative complications such as abscesses in the resection bed, shorter length of hospitalization, and avoidance of the long-term risk of post-splenectomy sepsis related to encapsulated bacteria. Two techniques can be used to save the spleen: either by dissecting out the splenic artery and vein with division of the arterial and venous branches between the pancreas and the splenic artery and vein; or by resecting the splenic artery and vein along with the pancreas but with careful preservation of the vascular collaterals in the splenic hilum, which allows the spleen to survive on the short gastric vessels (Warshaw technique). The latter method has been shown to be associated with a shorter operation, less blood loss, and a shorter hospitalization. In general the Warshaw technique is easier, especially for laparoscopic pancreatectomy. The subsequent appearance of enlarged gastric veins (varices) is to be expected as a consequence of loss of the splenic vein but has not led to bleeding from these natural collaterals during long-term follow up.
Department of Surgery, Massachusetts General Hospital, 55 Fruit St., WHT506, Boston, MA 02114-2696, USA. awarshaw@partners.org.