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International Journal of Surgical Oncology
Volume 2012, Article ID 602478, 10 pages
Review Article

Pancreatic Fistula after Pancreatectomy: Definitions, Risk Factors, Preventive Measures, and Management—Review

Department of Surgery, Sultan Qaboos University Hospital, 123 Muscat, Oman

Received 1 December 2011; Accepted 24 January 2012

Academic Editor: Timothy M. Pawlik

Copyright © 2012 Norman Oneil Machado. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Resection of pancreas, in particular pancreaticoduodenectomy, is a complex procedure, commonly performed in appropriately selected patients with benign and malignant disease of the pancreas and periampullary region. Despite significant improvements in the safety and efficacy of pancreatic surgery, pancreaticoenteric anastomosis continues to be the “Achilles heel” of pancreaticoduodenectomy, due to its association with a measurable risk of leakage or failure of healing, leading to pancreatic fistula. The morbidity rate after pancreaticoduodenectomy remains high in the range of 30% to 65%, although the mortality has significantly dropped to below 5%. Most of these complications are related to pancreatic fistula, with serious complications of intra-abdominal abscess, postoperative bleeding, and multiorgan failure. Several pharmacological and technical interventions have been suggested to decrease the pancreatic fistula rate, but the results have been controversial. This paper considers definition and classification of pancreatic fistula, risk factors, and preventive approach and offers management strategy when they do occur.