The natural history of chronic pancreatitis after operative intervention: The need for revisional operation

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For patients with chronic pancreatitis, duodenum-sparing head resections and pancreaticoduodenectomy are effective operations to relieve abdominal pain. For patients who develop recurrent symptoms after their index operation, the long-term management remains controversial.


Between 2002 and 2014, patients undergoing operative intervention for chronic pancreatitis were identified retrospectively. Patients requiring reoperation after their index operation were reviewed.


A total of 121 patients with chronic pancreatitis underwent an index operation. At a median time of 33 months, 85 patients underwent no further operative intervention, while 36 patients underwent reoperation. A reoperative procedure was completed with acceptable perioperative morbidity and blood loss. After a revision operation, 25% of patients became narcotic independent. Narcotic requirements decreased from 143 morphine equivalent milligrams per day (MEQ/d) to 80 MEQ/d, and 58% of patients required less than 50 MEQ/d. Insulin requirements were not increased from preoperative levels. Multivariate analysis demonstrated only narcotic requirement and exocrine insufficiency after the index operation to be predictive for the need for a revision operation.


Our data demonstrate the following: (1) A significant number of patients undergoing duodenum-sparing head resections (26%) or pancreaticoduodenectomy (29%) required reoperation for recurrent abdominal pain; and (2) a revisional operation can be effective in relieving recurrent abdominal symptoms. Patients with recurrent symptoms should be considered for additional operative intervention.

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