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Early and late postoperative changes in the quality of life after pancreatic surgery

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Langenbeck's Archives of Surgery Aims and scope Submit manuscript



To compare health-related quality of life (QoL) before and after surgery for pancreatic disease.


A retrospective analysis of prospectively gathered data is presented. A total of 174 patients of 230 planned for pancreatic surgery between March and December 2009 at a German high-volume center completed the Short Form-36 (SF-36) Health Survey preoperatively, 133 of them at 3 months and 83 at 24 months after surgery. Data was analysed according to diagnosis and procedure, and compared to German population norms.


QoL in the study group was worse than that of age-matched healthy population at all time points. It decreased continuously in the cancer group, decreased early and showed a trend toward recovery late in patients with benign tumors and chronic pancreatitis. Distal pancreatectomy was the best tolerated and total pancreatectomy the worst tolerated procedure. Older age and development of pancreatic insufficiency affected negatively QoL.


In patients with pancreatic disease, diagnosis determined QoL preoperatively and late after surgery, while in the early postoperative period, type and extent of surgery was the leading factor. Total pancreatectomy had a profound negative effect on QoL and should be reserved for carefully selected patients only.

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We kindly appreciate the technical support in data retrieval by Mr. Johann Kimmich and the statistical advice by Mrs. Renate Klaassen-Mielke from the Institute of Informatics, Biometry and Epidemiology at the Ruhr University of Bochum.

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Correspondence to Orlin Belyaev.

Electronic supplementary material

Table S1

Distribution of surgical procedures with respect to diagnosis at different time points (PDF 39 kb)

Table S2

Newly developed postoperative pancreatic insufficiency and QoL (PDF 43 kb)

Fig. S1

Preoperative PCS and MCS scores for the total collective (PDF 31 kb)

Fig. S2

QoL, preoperatively and at 3 months postoperatively (PDF 32 kb)

Fig. S3

The eight basic scales of SF-36 in patients with pancreatic cancer (PDF 24 kb)

Fig. S4

The eight basic scales of SF-36 in patients with benign pancreatic tumors (PDF 24 kb)

Fig. S5

The eight basic scales of SF-36 in patients with chronic pancreatitis (PDF 24 kb)

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Belyaev, O., Herzog, T., Chromik, A.M. et al. Early and late postoperative changes in the quality of life after pancreatic surgery. Langenbecks Arch Surg 398, 547–555 (2013).

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