Pancreatic resection for ductal adenocarcinoma: Total pancreatectomy versus partial pancreatectomy

David R. Farley, Michael G. Sarr, Jon A. van Heerden

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

5 Scopus citations


The controversy regarding total versus partial pancreatectomy for ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreatic head remains unsettled. Proponents of total pancreatectomy claim wider margins of resection, avoidance of a troublesome pancreaticoenterostomy, and removal of a potentially multicentric disease. Advocates of partial pancreatectomy highlight the retention of exocrine and endocrine pancreatic function, the maintenance of splenic function, and a lower risk of marginal ulceration without sacrificing curative potential. Analysis of the current surgical literature with focus on the facets of each procedure that may differ (operative mortality, long‐term survival, and the six factors mentioned above), may help to resolve the controversy. The data reviewed would suggest that 1) wider resection margins have not transferred into longer postoperative survival, 2) the risk of multicen‐tricity is probably low and of questionable significance, and 3) the morbidity and mortality of pancreaticoenterostomy is currently less problematic. The additional benefits of retaining pancreatic endocrine and exocrine function, maintaining splenic immune competence, and a lower risk of marginal ulceration convinces us to advocate partial pancreatectomy over total pancreatectomy for the majority of patients with a resectable ductal adenocarcinoma of the pancreatic head. © 1995 Wiley‐Liss, Inc.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)124-131
Number of pages8
JournalSeminars in Surgical Oncology
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1995


  • ductal adenocarcinoma
  • pancreatic head
  • partial pancreatectomy
  • total pancreatectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Oncology


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