Original Communications| Volume 128, ISSUE 5, P822-831, November 2000

Anatomical segmentectomy of the head of the pancreas along the embryological fusion plane: A feasible procedure?


      Background. Less extensive resection of the head of the pancreas has been the procedure of choice recently for low-grade malignant neoplasms. The anatomical detail of the head of the pancreas is currently insufficient for segmental resection along the embryological fusion plane. Methods. The anatomy of the head of the pancreas was analyzed in 31 consecutive autopsy specimens. An anterior (n = 10) or posterior (n = 10) segmentectomy of the head of each pancreas was performed along the macroscopically found fusion plane. The pancreatic arteries, the portal vein, the bile duct, and the pancreatic duct were visualized by injecting 3 silicon dyes of different colors. Another 11 specimens were examined by pancreatography before and after anterior (n = 5) or posterior (n = 6) segmentectomy. Eight of these 11 specimens were stained immunohistochemically to reveal the distribution of pancreatic polypeptide cells after segmentectomy. Results. The cleavage between the anterior and posterior segments was discovered at the anterior inferior edge or at the posterior superior edge of the head of the pancreas. Anterior segmentectomy was accomplished while preserving the anterior and posterior pancreaticoduodenal arcades and the lower bile duct in the posterior segment. Posterior segmentectomy involved the removal of the lower bile duct and the posterior pancreaticoduodenal arcades. Pancreatography after segmentectomy showed the division of the ducts of Wirsung and Santorini with the peripheral branches. The immunohistochemical boundary of pancreatic polypeptide cells coincided with the surgical plane. These results showed the anterior and posterior segments were originated from the embryologically dorsal and ventral primordia, respectively. Conclusions. The current anterior or posterior segmentectomy of the head of the pancreas corresponded to the resection of the embryologically dorsal or ventral primordium, respectively. Anterior segmentectomy of the head of the pancreas might be a clinically applicable procedure; however, posterior segmentectomy involving the resection of the lower bile duct may be impractical. (Surgery 2000;128:822-31.)
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