Case-matched comparison of the retroperitoneal approach with laparotomy for necrotizing pancreatitis

Hjalmar C. van Santvoort, Marc G. Besselink, Thomas L. Bollen, Erik Buskens, Bert van Ramshorst, Hein G. Gooszen

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BACKGROUND: Minimally invasive necrosectomy through a retroperitoneal approach is gaining popularity for the treatment of necrotizing pancreatitis. There is, however, no substantial evidence from comparative studies in favor of this technique over laparotomy. The aim of this case-matched study was to perform the first head-to-head comparison of necrosectomy by the retroperitoneal approach with laparotomy in patients with necrotizing pancreatitis. METHODS: Between 2001 and 2005, there were 15 of 841 consecutive acute pancreatitis patients who underwent necrosectomy by the retroperitoneal approach using a small flank incision. These patients were matched for the presence of preoperative organ failure, status of infection, timing of surgery, age, and computed tomography severity index score with 15 of 46 patients treated with necrosectomy by laparotomy and continuous postoperative lavage (CPL). RESULTS: In addition to all matched preoperative characteristics, there were no significant differences in sex, preoperative intensive care unit (ICU) admission, preoperative ICU stay, preoperative APACHE-II scores, and preoperative multiple organ failure (MOF). Postoperative complications requiring reintervention occurred in six patients in each group (p = 1.000). Postoperative new-onset MOF occurred in 10 patients in the laparotomy/CPL group versus 2 patients in the retroperitoneal approach group (p = 0.008). Six patients died in the laparotomy/CPL group versus 1 patient in the retroperitoneal approach group (p = 0.080). CONCLUSIONS: The less postoperative organ failure and the trend toward lower mortality may point to a benefit of the retroperitoneal approach over laparotomy. A randomized controlled design is, however, still required to answer definitively the question of which operative technique is preferably for patients with (infected) necrotizing pancreatitis
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1635-1642
JournalWorld Journal of Surgery
Issue number8
Publication statusPublished - 2007

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