Hypothesis: Splenic-preserving distal pancreatectomy for benign or low-grade malignant disease is associated with decreased perioperative morbidity compared with conventional distal pancreatectomy with splenectomy. Design: A retrospective review of a prospective database of patients. Setting: Memorial Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center, New York, NY. Patients: All patients (N=211) undergoing distal pancreatectomy. Main Outcome Measures: Perioperative complications, length of postoperative stay, and overall survival times were analyzed. Results: After excluding patients with adenocarcinoma and those who had other major organ resection, 125 patients underwent distal pancreatectomy for benign or low-grade malignant disease with splenectomy (n=79) or splenic preservation (n=46). Perioperative complications occurred in 39 (49%) of the 79 patients following splenectomy and 18 (39%) of the 46 patients following splenic preservation (P=.21). Perioperative infectious complications and severe complications were significantly higher in the splenectomy group (28% and 11%) compared with the splenic preservation group (9% and 2%) (P=.01 and .05), respectively. Length of hospital stay was 9 days (range, 5-41 days) following splenectomy and 7 days (range, 5-26 days) following splenic preservation (P<.01). No difference in length of surgery, units of blood transfused, or perioperative mortality was noted between groups. Conclusions: Splenic preservation following distal pancreatectomy for benign or low-grade malignant disease is safe and is associated with a reduction in perioperative infectious complications, severe complications, and length of hospital stay compared with conventional distal pancreatectomy with splenectomy. Therefore, splenic preservation should be considered in this group of patients.
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