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Medline ® Abstract for Reference 39

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

Distal pancreatectomy with and without splenectomy.
Aldridge MC, Williamson RC
Br J Surg. 1991;78(8):976.
Splenectomy is performed routinely during distal pancreatectomy, yet the spleen has an important role in host defence and can often be preserved. A personal series of 100 distal pancreatectomies undertaken for pancreatic disease between 1978 and 1990 included 23 patients undergoing total pancreatic resection. The remaining 77 patients, who form the basis of the present report, underwent primary distal pancreatectomy and comprised 34 women and 43 men with a median age of 41 years (range 17-78 years). Conventional distal pancreatectomy including splenectomy was performed in 42 patients (55 per cent) for chronic pancreatitis (34 patients), pancreatic neoplasia (six patients), suspected pancreatitis (one patient) or pancreatitic trauma (one patient). Conservative resection with splenic preservation was performed in 35 patients (45 per cent) for chronic pancreatitis (12 patients), suspected pancreatitis (13 patients, including eight patients with pancreas divisum), pancreatic neoplasia (six patients), recurrent acute pancreatitis (two patients) and pancreatic trauma (two patients). There were no postoperative deaths in either group. Early complications followed conventional resection in 10 patients (24 per cent) and conservative resection in seven patients (20 per cent). In five patients the splenic vessels were ligated away from the splenic hilum and the spleen was left in situ, but subsequent isotope scans and haematological indices showed no hyposplenism. The spleen can safely be preserved in many distal pancreatic resections, including those for inflammatory disease, and we now prefer a retrograde technique for dissecting the pancreas off the splenic vessels.
Department of Surgery, Royal Postgraduate Medical School, Hammersmith Hospital, London, UK.