Total Pancreatectomy With and Without Islet Cell Transplantation for Chronic Pancreatitis: A Series of 85 Consecutive Patients

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This study examined 85 consecutive patients undergoing total pancreatectomy (±islet cell transplant), examining pain relief, insulin requirements, and glycemic control postoperatively.


A prospective database of all patients undergoing total pancreatectomy for chronic pancreatitis was used to record preoperative and postoperative details from 1996 to 2006.


There were 3 postoperative deaths (1 islet recipient and 2 nonislet patients). The median number of acute admissions for pain fell from 5 to 2 after pancreatectomy, and the median length of stay from 6.2 days to 3.3 days. At 12 months postoperatively, the number of patients on regular opiate analgesia fell from 90.6% to 40.2% and by 5 years to 15.9%. There was a significant reduction in the patients' visual analogue pain score after surgery from 9.7 to 3.7 (P < 0.001). Five patients were insulin independent at 5 years. Median 24-hour insulin requirements were significantly lower in the islet group (15.5 vs 40 units at 5 years postoperatively; P < 0.001).


Total pancreatectomy is effective in reducing pain and dependence on opioid analgesia in patients with chronic pancreatitis. The addition of an islet cell transplant results in a reduction in 24-hour insulin demands, as well as potentially achieving insulin independence.

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