Minimally invasive surgical techniques for pancreatic cancer: Ready for prime time?

Marc G. Mesleh, John A. Stauffer, Horacio J. Asbun

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

21 Scopus citations


Background: Minimally invasive surgical techniques for pancreatic cancer are being applied with increasing frequency. With support of the literature, the location of the tumor within the pancreas is the factor which determines if these techniques can be safely used routinely by pancreatic surgeons. Methods: Literature supporting minimally invasive techniques for all types of resections for pancreatic cancer was reviewed. Results: Multiple meta-analysis regarding laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy all support the routine use of laparoscopy for these lesions. There are several case series describing the safety and efficacious use of laparoscopy in pancreaticoduodenectomy, and results have been promising in these highly specialized centers. Conclusions: The location of the tumor within the pancreas remains the most critical factor in the use of laparoscopy as the standard of care. Lesions in the body and tail, which are readily resected with a distal or subtotal pancreatectomy should be performed laparoscopically unless there is a clear reason why not to do so. Lesions in the head of the pancreas have been shown to be removed safely and effectively with laparoscopy. However, the technical skills necessary and the ability to teach these to trainees are the limiting factors to widespread use. Further series are necessary to assess if the laparoscopic approach to pancreaticoduodenectomy will play a similar role as the one it plays in the surgical treatment for distal lesions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)578-582
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Sciences
Issue number6
StatePublished - Aug 2013


  • Distal pancreatectomy
  • Laparoscopy
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pancreaticoduodenectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Medicine


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