BACKGROUND: Severe necrotizing pancreatitis may result in midbody necrosis and ductal disruption leaving an isolated pancreatic tail. The purpose of this study was to characterize outcomes among patients with an isolated tail remnant who underwent transgastric drainage or necrosectomy (endoscopic or surgical) and determine the need for subsequent operative management.MATERIALS AND METHODS: Patients with necrotizing pancreatitis and retrogastric walled-off collections treated by surgical transgastric necrosectomy or endoscopic cystgastrostomy± necrosectomy between 2009 and 2017 were identified by a retrospective chart review. All available preprocedure and postprocedure imaging was reviewed for evidence of isolated distal pancreatic tail remnants.RESULTS: Seventy-four patients were included (40 surgical and 34 endoscopic). All the patients in the surgical group underwent laparoscopic transgastric necrosectomy; the endoscopic group consisted of 26 patients for pseudocyst drainage and eight patients for necrosectomy. A disconnected pancreatic tail was identified in 22 (29%) patients (13 laparoscopic and nine endoscopic). After the creation of the "cystgastrostomy," there were no external fistulas despite the viable tail. Of the 22 patients, four patients developed symptoms at a median of 23months (two, recurrent episodic pancreatitis; two, intractable pain). Two patients (both initially in endoscopic group) ultimately required distal pancreatectomy and splenectomy at 24 and 6months after index procedure.CONCLUSIONS: Patients with a walled-off retrogastric collection and an isolated viable tail are effectively managed by a transgastric approach. Despite this seemingly "unstable anatomy," the creation of an internal fistula via surgical or endoscopic "cystgastrostomy" avoids external fistulas/drains and the short-term necessity of surgical distal pancreatectomy. A very small subset requires intervention for late symptoms.
View details for PubMedID 30278917