To present our institutional experience in laparoscopic spleen-preserving distal pancreatectomy (Lap-SPDP) using Kimura technique with or without early occlusion of the root of the splenic artery. In addition, to explore the safety and feasibility of this occlusion technique, especially its advantages in intraoperative hemorrhage control and spleen preservation.
From February 2011 to May 2019, 54 consecutive patients who were diagnosed as benign or low-grade malignant space-occupying lesions at the body and the tail of pancreas underwent Lap-SPDP using Kimura technique in our institution. Twenty-five patients before 2015 were allocated into non-occlusion group and 29 patients after 2015 were allocated into occlusion group. The non-occlusion group underwent direct dissection of the distal pancreas with blood supply from the splenic artery as well as traditional traction of the splenic artery without occlusion. Whereas the occlusion group underwent temporary occlusion of the root of the splenic artery by Bulldog clip after transecting the neck of the pancreas and distal pancreas was excised under a relatively bloodless situation. Surgical techniques were described in detail. Data between groups were retrospectively collected and stratification analysis was performed based on the diameter of tumor (>3 cm or ≤3 cm).
Before stratification, there was a statistical difference in age between the two groups ( =0.033), but no difference in body mass index (BMI) ( =0.069). The median lesion diameter of the two groups was 2.5 cm and 4 cm, respectively, with no statistical difference ( =0.065). The success rates of spleen preservation in the two groups were 93.1% and 92% respectively, showing no significant difference ( =1.000). The length of hospital stay was slightly longer in the non-occlusion group than that in the occlusion group ( =0.020). Comparing with the non-occlusion group, the occlusion group had significantly shorter operation time (median, 165 min vs. 235 min) and less estimated blood loss (median, 100 mL vs. 200 mL) ( <0.05). After stratification by the tumor diameter, there were 2 cases of failed spleen preservation both in occlusion and non-occlusion group with tumor diameter >3 cm (occlusion group: 2/8, 25% and non-occlusion group: 2/14,14.3%). However there was no statistical difference between the two groups ( =0.602). When the tumor diameter ≤3 cm, the spleen preservation rate of both groups reached 100%. When the tumor diameter was >3 cm, the operation time of the occlusion group was shorter than that of the non-occlusion group ( =0.005). In terms of intraoperative blood loss, regardless of tumor size, the occlusion group had less estimated blood loss than that of the non-occlusion group ( <0.05). In the occlusion group, no conversion or blood transfusion was needed intraoperatively and/or postoperatively. After stratification, there was no difference in the length of hospital stay between two groups ( >0.05). During the follow-up period (median (Min-Max), 13.5 (3-96) months), no perioperative death, disease recurrence, portal vein or splenic vein thrombosis, gastric varices or upper gastrointestinal bleeding was noted.
Lap-SPDP using Kimura technique with early occlusion of the root of splenic artery was safe and feasible and could be generally applied. By using this technique, we could reduce the operation time and blood loss, as well as sustain a high probability of spleen preservation.

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