Background: The aims of this study were to compare splenic vessel patency between laparoscopic and open spleen and splenic vessel-preserving distal pancreatectomy (SSVpDP), and to identify possible risk factors for poor splenic vessel patency. Methods: This retrospective multicenter study included 116 patients who underwent laparoscopic (n = 70) or open (n = 46) SSVpDP at seven Korean tertiary medical institutions between 2004 and 2011. Clinical parameters and the splenic vessel patency assessed by abdominal computed tomography were compared between the two surgical procedures. Results: The clinical parameters were not significantly different between both groups, except for postoperative hospital stay, which was significantly shorter in the laparoscopic group (10.4 vs. 13.5 days, P = 0.024). The splenic artery patency rate was similar in both groups (90.0 vs. 97.8 %), but the splenic vein patency rate was significantly lower in the laparoscopic group (64.3 vs. 87.0 %, P = 0.022). Univariate and multivariate analyses revealed surgical procedure [odds ratio (OR) 3.085, P = 0.043] and intraoperative blood loss (OR 4.624, P = 0.002) as independent risk factors for compromised splenic vein patency (partial or total occlusion). The splenic vein patency rate was significantly better in the late group (n = 34) than in the early period (n = 35) (79.4 vs. 48.6 %, P = 0.008). Conclusions: Although laparoscopic SSVpDP had an advantage of shorter hospital stay compared with open surgery, it was associated with greater risk of poor splenic vein patency. However, this risk could decrease with increasing surgical experience and with efforts to minimize blood loss.
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