Journal of Gastrointestinal Surgery

, Volume 12, Issue 9, pp 1548–1553 | Cite as

Distal Pancreatectomy: Incidence of Postoperative Diabetes

  • Jonathan King
  • Kevork Kazanjian
  • J. Matsumoto
  • Howard A. Reber
  • Michael W. Yeh
  • O. Joe Hines
  • Guido Eibl
original article



Distal pancreatectomy is an accepted and safe procedure for lesions of the body and tail of the pancreas. Limited resections, including central pancreatectomy, have recently been advocated as possible strategies to preserve pancreatic endocrine function. The true rate of diabetes after distal pancreatectomy is not known, but we hypothesize that the risk is nominal.

Materials and Methods

We reviewed 125 consecutive patients who underwent distal pancreatectomy between January 1, 1992, and March 31, 2006.


Of these 125 patients, 27 (21.6%) had an islet cell tumor, 25 (20%) adenocarcinoma, 24 (18.4%) serous cystic neoplasm, 19 (15.2%) mucinous cystic neoplasm, 11 (8.8%) chronic pancreatitis, and eight (6.4%) intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm. In addition to the distal pancreatectomy, 105 (84%) of the patients underwent splenectomy and 12 (9.6%) a concomitant liver resection. The median operative time was 232 min and median blood loss 250 cc. Postoperative complications occurred in 44 (35.2%) patients (12% fistula), and there was one death. Fourteen patients had known type 2 diabetes preoperatively.


With a median follow-up of 21 months, 10 (9%) of previously nondiabetic patients developed new onset diabetes. There was a trend toward increased risk of new onset diabetes among patients with pancreatitis (odds ratio, 2.9). In the absence of pancreatitis, the rate was 7.5%. Length of hospitalization was greater for patients with new onset diabetes (9.4 vs 7.5, P < .05). Neither demographics, diagnosis, nor operative statistics impacted the risk of postoperative diabetes.


We conclude that the rate of clinically apparent new onset diabetes after distal pancreatectomy is minimal. Alternative pancreatic resections aimed at preserving pancreatic mass are likely to be unwarranted.


Distal pancreatectomy Postoperative diabetes Pancreas 



This study was supported in part by the National Institutes of Health (R21 CA124609, P01 AT003960) to O.J.H. and the Hirshberg Foundation for Pancreatic Cancer Research to H.A.R.


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Copyright information

© The Society for Surgery of the Alimentary Tract 2008

Authors and Affiliations

  • Jonathan King
    • 1
  • Kevork Kazanjian
    • 1
  • J. Matsumoto
    • 1
  • Howard A. Reber
    • 1
  • Michael W. Yeh
    • 1
  • O. Joe Hines
    • 1
  • Guido Eibl
    • 1
  1. 1.Department of Surgery, David Geffen School of MedicineUCLALos AngelesUSA

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