Laparoscopic approach to distal and subtotal pancreatectomy: A clockwise technique

Horacio J. Asbun, John A. Stauffer

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

34 Scopus citations


Background: Laparoscopic surgery is becoming a more widely used approach for benign and malignant lesions in the neck, body, and tail of the pancreas. Recent literature reports appear to demonstrate that laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy (LDP) has clear benefits compared with open distal pancreatectomy (ODP). However, the procedure is relatively new and in some patients may remain a technically demanding operation. Methods: Twenty-nine LDPs were performed by a single surgeon during the course of 12 months by using a multistep clockwise technique described in detail below. The technique appears to simplify and standardize the approach for both the simpler and the more difficult procedure. Retrospective analysis was performed regarding perioperative outcomes. Results: Twenty-three procedures were performed for a neoplastic process with five patients having pancreatic adenocarcinoma. There was no conversion to ODP, but one patient required a hand-assist method. Splenectomy was performed in 26 patients. Median operative time, estimated blood loss, and length of stay was 182 min, 50 ml, and 4 days respectively. Overall morbidity and pancreatic fistula rate was 17.2% and 10.3%, respectively. Median number of lymph nodes was 14, concomitant left adrenalectomy was performed in 3 patients, and margins were negative in 28 patients. Conclusions: LDP has been shown to be an acceptable approach to both benign and malignant disease of the distal pancreas. The technique used in this manuscript appears to facilitate a reliable and safe five-step method to perform this procedure and ensures that appropriate oncologic principles are followed through each step. Even though this is a small feasibility series focused on surgical technique, our results appear to demonstrate an acceptable pancreatic leak rate.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)2643-2649
Number of pages7
JournalSurgical endoscopy
Issue number8
StatePublished - Aug 2011


  • Distal pancreatectomy
  • Laparoscopic
  • Pancreatectomy
  • Pancreatic ductal adenocarcinoma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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