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July 1988

Chronic Pancreatitis: Results of Whipple's Resection and Total Pancreatectomy

Author Affiliations

From the Department of Surgery, Mayo Medical School, Rochester, Minn.

Arch Surg. 1988;123(7):815-819. doi:10.1001/archsurg.1988.01400310029004

• The aim of our study was to determine the success of radical pancreatic resection in relieving the pain of chronic pancreatitis. From 1974 to 1985, 30 consecutive patients underwent radical pancreatic resection for the treatment of debilitating pain (15 underwent Whipple's resection and 15 underwent total pancreatectomy). Patients were not randomized but were subjected to the procedure deemed indicated for their clinical presentation; thus, the two groups were not strictly comparable. There was no operative mortality; major morbidity occurred in three patients (20%) in each group (four patients experienced anastomotic bile leak and two experienced abdominal sepsis). Following Whipple's resection, mean follow-up was 6.2 years (range, 1.5 to 12.1 years). Complete pain relief occurred in eight patients (53%) and significant relief in an additional four (27%). Endocrine insufficiency developed in six patients and exocrine insufficiency in eight. Following total pancreatectomy, mean follow-up was 9.1 years (range, 2.1 to 13.1 years). Complete pain relief occurred in only four patients (27%) and significant relief in an additional six (40%). Significant pain persisted in about 33% of patients after total pancreatic resection. We concluded that radical pancreatic resection can be performed safely in patients with chronic pancreatitis but with gratifying results in only 67% to 80% of patients. Whipple's resection may be preferable for disease located primarily in the head of the gland.

(Arch Surg 1988;123:815-819)

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