Laparoscopic surgery effective in treating cancer in pancreas head

Lee Han-soo  Published 2019.12.12  16:35  Updated 2019.12.12 16:51


Researchers at Severance Hospital have found that laparoscopic surgery is as effective as conventional open surgery for treating cancer in the pancreas head.

Professor Kang Chang-moo

The team, led by Professor Kang Chang-moo, concluded so after comparing 61 patients with pancreatic cancer who had either undergone laparoscopic pancreas-duodenal resection or open surgery pancreas-duodenal resection.

It confirmed that patients who had undergone laparoscopic pancreas-duodenal resection showed less bleeding during surgery and a longer period before cancer relapsed.

The mean estimated blood loss was 232.59 ± 178.68 mL for laparoscopic pancreas-duodenal resection, which was significantly lower than that of laparotomy-duodenal resection (448.82 ± 343.83 mL).

Also, the disease-free survival of laparoscopic pancreas-duodenal resection was 34.19 months, while laparotomy-duodenal resection was 23.3 months

Both operations showed the same effect in other areas such as operation time, postoperative hospitalization and pancreatic trauma.

The underlying condition for the long-term survival of pancreatic cancer is to undergo surgery that can completely remove the tumor. Pancreatic-duodenal resection is a standard procedure for removing pancreatic cancer in the pancreas head. The surgery removes the duodenum, biliary tract, and gallbladder, like the pancreas head, which is all parts of the body that cancer can spread. Afterward, the doctors re-connect the remaining pancreas, biliary tract, and stomach to the small intestine.

The surgery is very complicated and sophisticated, making it difficult to operate with laparoscopic surgery. The difficulty of operation is greater due to the possibility of significant vascular invasion and the patient suffering from pancreatitis and cholangitis, which are symptoms that regularly appear in patients who have pancreatic cancer.

For these reasons, there are few reports of laparoscopic pancreatic-duodenal resection for pancreatic cancer worldwide.

“The advantages of laparoscopic surgery include less pain, faster recovery, and less postoperative fitness loss,” Professor Kang said. “Such benefits mean that patients will be able to receive chemotherapy under better conditions.”

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