Medline ® Abstract for Reference 68
of 'Surgical resection of lesions of the body and tail of the pancreas'
Pancreatic surgery in the laparoscopic era.
Recent advances in technology and techniques have opened the gates widely to a wide range of applications of minimally invasive surgery in patients with inflammatory and neoplastic diseases of the pancreas. Laparoscopic cholecystectomy is the gold standard treatment for prevention of further attacks of acute biliary pancreatitis. Bile duct calculi detected at intraoperative cholangiography in patients with mild attacks of pancreatitis may be safely managed with laparoscopic bile duct exploration. Laparoscopic internal drainage of large, persistent and symptomatic pancreatic pseudocysts is safely applicable to most patients, achieves adequate drainage and facilitates debridement, and brings recognised benefits over open surgery and endoscopic approaches. Laparoscopic pancreatic necrosectomy for infected necrosis is feasible in some patients but the benefits of this approach in this high-risk group of patients remain to be shown. Staging laparoscopy and laparoscopic ultrasound avoids unnecessary laparotomy in approximately one-fifth of patients with pancreatic cancer, but their routine application in patients with ampullary and duodenal cancers is not warranted. The majority of patients with periampullary cancer have locally advanced or metastatic disease at presentation and their management is entirely palliative. Laparoscopic surgery therefore has its place in the relief of biliary and gastric outlet obstruction, and has its advantages over endoscopic biliary and duodenal stenting in patients with predicted better prognosis, though these advantages ought to be confirmed in randomised controlled trials.Thoracoscopic splanchnicectomy is beneficial in the short-to-medium term for the palliation of intractable opiate-dependent abdominal pain of locally advanced pancreatic cancer and that of chronic pancreatitis with demonstrable improvements in quality of life. Laparoscopic enucleation of neuroendocrine tumours of the pancreas, and distal or subtotal pancreatectomy with or without preservation of the splenic vessels and spleen for neuroendocrine and cystic tumours, and in some patients with chronic pancreatitis is feasible and safe. In experienced hands, this minimally invasive approach reduces postoperative hospital stay and expedites recovery. However, the incidence of pancreatic fistula following distal resection is not any less than that of open surgery. Although the previous limited experience with laparoscopic pancreaticoduodenectomy was discouraging, the recent experience with the hand-assisted approach is quite favourable and is likely to expand.