The anatomical features of dorsal pancreatic artery in the pancreatic head and its clinical significance in laparoscopic pancreatoduodenectomy



Bleeding control as one of the major challenges in laparoscopic pancreaticoduodenectomy (LPD) necessitates a considerable anatomical knowledge of the blood supply to the pancreatic head so as to improve the safety of this surgery. This study aimed towards a better understanding of the anatomical features of the dorsal pancreatic artery (DPA), as well as its clinical significance in LPD.


Thirteen Chinese cadaveric specimens were used to study the blood supply of the pancreatic head. Twelve of them were perfused with latex, and the other fresh one was used to build the intraorganic structure model of the pancreas by mold casting. Between July 2018 and June 2019, a total of thirty-five consecutive patients without vascular encasement, who underwent LPD in our institute, were performed with computed tomography as a preoperative detection of the DPA. The DPA was ligated prior to uncinate process dissection in seventeen patients ("early DPA ligation" group), as the others were assigned into the control group.


In the thirteen cadaveric specimens, the DPA originates, respectively, from the splenic artery (46.1%), superior mesenteric artery (38.5%), common hepatic artery (7.7%) and right gastroepiploic artery (7.7%). The right branch of the DPA gives off terminal arteries to form an “inner ring” in the pancreatic head, which communicates with the pancreaticoduodenal arterial arches by plenty of collateral arteries. As compared to the control group, the “early DPA ligation" group showed a significantly lower mean blood loss (218 ± 111 vs 320 ± 162, P = 0.038), as well as shorter mean resection time (121 ± 23 vs 136 ± 22, P = 0.049).


The DPA is one of the major blood supplies to the pancreatic head. A ligation of DPA prior to dissection of the uncinate process can help to completely block the blood supply to the pancreatic head, and therefore improve surgical outcome and safety in LPD.

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This work was supported by the Shanghai Shengkang Hospital Development Center (Grant Number 16CR3107B).

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Correspondence to Wei Wang.

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Drs. Chong-Yi Jiang, Yun Liang, Yin-Tao Chen, Zheng-Shou Dai and Wei Wang have no conflicts of interest or financial ties to disclose.

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Jiang, CY., Liang, Y., Chen, YT. et al. The anatomical features of dorsal pancreatic artery in the pancreatic head and its clinical significance in laparoscopic pancreatoduodenectomy. Surg Endosc 35, 569–575 (2021).

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  • Dorsal pancreatic artery
  • Anatomy
  • Blood supply
  • Laparoscopy
  • Pancreaticoduodenectomy