While pancreaticoduodenectomy is today performed with an operative mortality of <5%, the incidence of significant operative morbidity remains at least 25%. Albeit rarely, completion pancreatectomy during the early postoperative period may be required to manage uncontrolled pancreatic anastomotic leaks. From 1964 to 1988, pancreaticoduodenectomy was performed on 479 patients at our institution, 178 (37%) of whom required re-operation in the early postoperative period. Of these, 11 (6%) patients underwent completion pancreatectomy at a mean interval of 18 days following Whipple resection. The indications prompting re-operation included a suspected pancreatic leak (n=8), intra-abdominal hemorrhage (n=2), and pancreaticocutaneous fistula (n=1). Operative findings necessitating completion pancreatectomy included pancreatic anastomotic dehiscence with severe surrounding inflammation/necrosis prohibiting reanastomosis or repair (n=10) and necrotizing pancreatitis with uncontrolled hemorrhage (1). Seven (64%) of these 11 patients died postoperatively of sepsis and multiple organ failure. The mean hospital stay in the 4 surviving patients was 46 days (range, 26 to 53 days). These 4 patients survived for a mean period of 24 months following hospital dismissal.
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