Objective This study evaluated the incidence of postoperative morbidities, focusing specifically on pancreatic fistulas, after a splenectomy performed as part of cytoreductive surgery for the treatment of ovarian cancer.
Methods A retrospective chart review was performed for all the patients with ovarian, tubal, or peritoneal cancer who underwent splenectomy during a 5-year period. Patient-, disease-, and surgery-related data were collected. Pancreatic fistulas were identified when the drainage fluid obtained via a surgically placed drain had an amylase content greater than 3 times the normal serum value after postoperative day 3.
Results A splenectomy was performed in 21 patients. Postoperative pancreatic fistulas developed in 6 patients (29%). Of these 6 patients, 2 had no symptoms and did not require specific treatment for their pancreatic fistulas. Therapeutic intervention was required in the remaining 4 patients. The durations of oral feeding prohibition and the use of a peripancreatic drain were longer in the patients with a pancreatic fistula than in those without a pancreatic fistula. Overall, the pancreatic fistulas were managed conservatively or using minimally invasive procedures. Staple-line reinforcement seemed to be an effective means of closing the transected stump during the splenectomy, compared with the standard stapling technique.
Conclusions Elevated amylase levels in the drainage fluid reflect the patient’s actual condition better than serum amylase levels. We recommend the intraoperative placement of a peripancreatic drain and postoperative measurement of amylase concentrations in the drainage fluid to identify the development of pancreatic fistulas and to facilitate the management of this complication.
- Ovarian cancer
- Pancreatic fistula
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The authors declare no conflicts of interest.