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Volume 8 (2008), Pages 1156-1167
Research Article

Radical Pancreaticoduodenectomy for Benign Disease

1Liver Unit, St. Vincent's University Hospital, Elm Park, Dublin, Ireland
2Department of Pathology, St. Vincent's University Hospital, Elm Park, Dublin, Ireland

Received 8 June 2008; Revised 20 October 2008; Accepted 25 October 2008

Academic Editor: Raj K. Goyal

Copyright © 2008 D. O. Kavanagh et al.


Whipple's procedure is the treatment of choice for pancreatic and periampullary malignancies. Preoperative histological confirmation of malignancy is frequently unavailable and some patients will subsequently be found to have benign disease. Here, we review our experience with Whipple's procedure for patients ultimately proven to have benign disease. The medical records of all patients who underwent Whipple's procedure during a 15-year period (1987–2002) were reviewed; 112 patients underwent the procedure for suspected malignancy. In eight cases, the final histology was benign (7.1%). One additional patient was known to have benign disease at resection. The mean age was 50 years (range: 30–75). The major presenting features included jaundice (five), pain (two), gastric outlet obstruction (one), and recurrent gastrointestinal haemorrhage (one). Investigations included ultrasound (eight), computerised tomography (eight), endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (seven; of these, four patients had a stent inserted and three patients had sampling for cytology), and endoscopic ultrasound (two). The pathological diagnosis included benign biliary stricture (two), chronic pancreatitis (two), choledochal cyst (one), inflammatory pseudotumour (one), cystic duodenal wall dysplasia (one), duodenal angiodysplasia (one), and granular cell neoplasm (one). There was no operative mortality. Morbidity included intra-abdominal collection (one), anastomotic leak (one), liver abscess (one), and myocardial infarction (one). All patients remain alive and well at mean follow-up of 41 months. Despite recent advances in diagnostic imaging, 8% of the patients undergoing Whipple'’s procedure had benign disease. A range of unusual pathological entities can mimic malignancy. Accurate preoperative histological diagnosis may have allowed a less radical operation to be performed. Endoscopic ultrasound–guided fine needle aspirate (EUS-FNA) may reduce the need for Whipple's operation in benign pancreaticobiliary disease in the future.