Background: Soft pancreas with small pancreatic duct is a known risk factor for postoperative pancreatic fistula (POPF). This study demonstrated the safety and feasibility of laparoscopic duct-to-mucosa pancreaticojejunostomy (PJ) and compared perioperative outcomes of laparoscopic pancreaticoduodenectomy (LPD) and open pancreaticoduodenectomy (OPD) in patients with soft pancreas and small pancreatic duct. Methods: From January 2014 to December 2019, 183 patients underwent LPD and 91 patients underwent OPD by a single surgeon. Data on patients with soft pancreas and combined small pancreatic duct (≤ 2 mm) were retrospectively reviewed. Clinicopathologic characteristics, and perioperative outcomes were compared between LPD and OPD. We evaluated risk factors affecting clinically relevant POPF (CR-POPF). We also correlated calculated risks of POPF and CR-POPF between the two groups. Results: We compared 62 patients in the LPD group and 34 patients in the OPD group. Perioperative outcomes showed less blood loss, shorter hospital stays, and less postoperative pain score on postoperative day (POD)#1 and #5 in LPD compared with OPD. Postoperative complications showed no differences between LPD and OPD. LPD group showed significantly reduced CR-POPF rates compared to the OPD group (LPD 11.3% vs. OPD 29.4%, p = 0.026). Multivariate analysis identified obesity (BMI ≥ 25), thick pancreas parenchyma and open surgery as independent predicting factors for CR-POPF. The LPD group showed less CR-POPF than the OPD group according to POPF risk groups. This difference was more prominent in a high-risk group. Conclusion: With appropriate laparoscopic technique, LPD is feasible and safe and reduces CR-POPF in soft pancreas with a small pancreatic duct.
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