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Total Gastrectomy With Dissection of Lymph Nodes Along the Splenic Artery: A Pancreas-Preserving Method

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Background: In Japan, the tail and body of the pancreas are generally removed for dissection of lymph nodes along the splenic artery. A new pancreas-preserving method was developed to decrease the postoperative complications due to pancreatic resection.

Patients and Methods: Between 1981 and 1989, 110 patients were registered in a randomized controlled trial, which included total gastrectomy plus dissection of lymph node along the splenic artery, either with (55 patients: Group A) or without (55: Group B) pancreas tail resection. In Group B, the splenic artery and spleen were removed and the pancreas was preserved. There were no significant differences between the two groups in terms of sex, age, location, microscopic classification, or disease stage. The postoperative complications and survival rates were compared between the two groups.

Results: The average number of dissected nodes along the splenic artery was 4.6 and 4.1 for Groups A and B, respectively. The amounts of blood loss during the operation were 994 ml and 904 ml for groups A and B, respectively. Anastomosis failure and/or pancreatic fistula occurred in nine patients in Group A (16%) and seven in Group B (13%). One year after the operation, a glucose tolerance test showed diabetes in 6% and impaired glucose tolerance in 33% of patients in group A, while these findings were normal in group B. The 5-year survival rates were 80% and 76.7% for groups A and B, respectively.

Conclusions: The pancreas-preserving method described here was superior to the more common pancreas resecting method with regard to surgical risk and postoperative glucose tolerance.

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Furukawa, H., Hiratsuka, M., Ishikawa, O. et al. Total Gastrectomy With Dissection of Lymph Nodes Along the Splenic Artery: A Pancreas-Preserving Method. Ann Surg Oncol 7, 669–673 (2000).

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