Objectives. The advent of minimally invasive techniques was marked by a paradigm shift towards the use of laparoscopy for benign distal pancreatic masses. Herein we describe one center's experience with laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy. Methods. A retrospective chart review was performed for all distal pancreatectomies completed laparoscopically from 1999 to 2009. Outcomes from those cases completed with a concurrent splenectomy were compared to the spleen-preserving procedures. Results. Twenty-four patients underwent laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy. Seven had spleen-conserving operations. There was no difference in the mean estimated blood loss (316 versus 285mL, P=.5) or operative time (179 versus 170minutes, P=.9). The mean tumor size was not significantly different (3.1 versus 2.2cm, P=.9). There was no difference in the average hospital stay (7.1 versus 7.0 days, P=.7). Complications in the spleen-preserving group included one iatrogenic colon injury, two pancreatic fistulas, and two cases of iatrogenic diabetes. In the splenectomy group, two developed respiratory failure, three acquired iatrogenic diabetes, and two suffered pancreatic fistulas (71 versus 41, P=.4). Conclusions. The laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy is a safe operation with a low morbidity. Splenic conservation does not significantly increase the morbidity of the procedure.
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