Near-total pancreatectomy for chronic pancreatitis

Frederic E. Eckhauser, William E. Strodel, James A. Knol, Mary Harper, Jeremiah G. Turcotte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

30 Scopus citations


Eighty-seven patients underwent distal subtotal or near-total (80% to 95%) pancreatectomy (NTP) during a 25-year period for management of intractable pain resulting from chronic pancreatitis. Alcoholism affected the majority of patients and 20% of cases were idiopathic in origin. Ten patients (12%) exhibited insulin-requiring diabetes before operation. The perioperative mortality rate was 3.4%. Significant improvement or complete pain relief was achieved in 75% of patients while 14% remained narcotic dependent. Forty-four patients (51%) required insulin postoperatively, with an average insulin requirement of 35 U per day. Thirty late deaths occurred 2 to 15 years after operation, 12 (40%) of which were related to complications of pancreatic insufficiency or persistent alcoholism. Five patients (8.5%) required completion pancreatectomy 6 months to 4 years after NTP for complications relating to persistent pancreatitis. NTP provides effective pain relief in the majority of patients with chronic pancreatitis. While this procedure can be performed with a low operative mortality rate, the high incidence of endocrine and exocrine insufficiency after operation may contribute to late deaths. Consequently, this procedure should be performed only when the underlying disease has functionally destroyed the pancreas or when lesser procedures have failed to provide adequate pain relief.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)599-607
Number of pages9
Issue number4
StatePublished - Oct 1984
Externally publishedYes

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery


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