Carcinoma of the Pancreatic Head and Periampullary Region Tumor Staging with Laparoscopy and Laparoscopic Ultrasonography

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The authors performed a prospective evaluation of staging laparoscopy with laparoscopic ultrasonography in predicting surgical resectability in patients with carcinomas of the pancreatic head and periampullary region.

Summary Background Data

Summary Background Data resection with curative intent is possible in a select minority of patients who have carcinomas of the pancreatic head and periampullary region. Patient selection is important to plan appropriate therapy and avoid unnecessary laparotomy in patients with unresectable disease. Laparoscopic ultrasonography is a novel technique that combines the proven benefits of staging laparoscopy with high resolution intraoperative ultrasound of the liver and pancreas, but which has yet to be evaluated critically in the staging of pancreatic malignancy.


A cohort of 40 consecutive patients referred to a tertiary referral center and with a diagnosis of potentially resectable pancreatic or periampullary cancer underwent staging laparoscopy with laparoscopic ultrasonography. The diagnostic accuracy of staging laparoscopy alone and in conjunction with laparoscopic ultrasonography was evaluated in predicting tumor resectability (absence of peritoneal or liver metastases; absence of malignant regional lymphadenopathy; tumor confined to pancreatic head or periampullary region).


“Occult” metastatic lesions were demonstrated by staging laparoscopy in 14 patients (35%). Laparoscopic ultrasonography demonstrated factors confirming unresectable tumor in 23 patients (59%), provided staging information in addition to that of laparoscopy alone in 20 patients (53%), and changed the decision regarding tumor resectability in 10 patients (25%). Staging laparoscopy with laparoscopic ultrasonography was more specific and accurate in predicting tumor resectability than laparoscopy alone (88% and 89% versus 50% and 65%, respectively).


Conclusions laparoscopy is indispensable in the detection of “occult” intra-abdominal metastases. Laparoscopic ultrasonography improves the accuracy of laparoscopic staging in patients with potentially resectable pancreatic and periampullary carcinomas.

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