Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery

, Volume 399, Issue 3, pp 315–321 | Cite as

Increased rate of clinically relevant pancreatic fistula after deep enucleation of small pancreatic tumors

  • Kristin Heeger
  • Massimo Falconi
  • Stefano Partelli
  • Jens Waldmann
  • Stefano Crippa
  • Volker Fendrich
  • Detlef K. Bartsch
Original Article



Only small, potentially benign pancreatic tumors located ≥3 mm distant from the main pancreatic duct (MPD) are considered good candidates for enucleation. This study evaluates the outcome of enucleations with regard to their distance to the MPD.


Clinical characteristics, complications, and outcomes of prospectively documented patients with small (≤30 mm), potentially benign pancreatic tumors, who underwent enucleation, were retrospectively analyzed. Patients were divided in two groups, either deep enucleation (DE, distance ≤3 mm) or standard enucleation (SE, distance >3 mm), as determined by intraoperative ultrasonography (IOUS).


Sixty patients underwent DE (n = 30) or SE (n = 30) with IOUS. Both groups did not differ regarding age, tumor size, pathology, and operating time. Complications occurred in 24/30 (80 %) patients of the DE group compared to 15/30 (50 %) patients after SE (P = 0.029). Mortality was nil. The most frequent complication was pancreatic fistula (POPF) occurring in 22/30 (73.3 %) patients after DE and 9/30 (30 %) patients undergoing SE (P = 0.002). Especially, the rate of clinically significant POPF types B and C was higher after DE (21 of 30 patients) compared to SE (7 of 30 patients, P = 0.0006). Univariate and multivariate analyses revealed DE as the only significant factor that negatively influenced the occurrence of POPF. Postoperative hospital stay tended to be longer after DE (15 vs. 11.5 days, P = 0.050). All but two patients with metastatic gastrinoma and two patients, who died of unrelated causes, showed no evidence of disease after a median follow-up of 24 (3–235) months.


Deep enucleation of small, potentially benign pancreatic tumors should be considered with caution given the high rate of clinically relevant POPF.


Neuroendocrine pancreatic tumor Enucleation Distance main pancreatic duct POPF 



None of the authors has any potential or actual personal, financial, political, or competing interest. The study was not sponsored by any funding source.

Conflicts of Interest



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Copyright information

© Springer-Verlag Berlin Heidelberg 2014

Authors and Affiliations

  • Kristin Heeger
    • 1
  • Massimo Falconi
    • 2
  • Stefano Partelli
    • 2
  • Jens Waldmann
    • 1
  • Stefano Crippa
    • 2
  • Volker Fendrich
    • 1
  • Detlef K. Bartsch
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of SurgeryPhilipps-UniversityMarburgGermany
  2. 2.Department of SurgerySacro Cuore-Don Calabria HospitalNegrarItaly

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