Journal of investigative surgery : the official journal of the Academy of Surgical Research

Management of isolated bile leaks after pancreatic resections.

PMID 24830477


After pancreatectomy, an isolated bile leak from the hepaticojejunostomy is a severe surgical complication that is underrepresented both, in the literature and in the awareness of pancreatic surgeons. The goal of this study was to analyze the incidence and outcome of isolated bile leaks after pancreatectomy. A retrospective study of patients who underwent duodenopancreatectomy or total pancreatectomy at a single-center institution was performed, which analyzed incidence and course of patients with postoperative bile leaks from the hepaticojejunostomy. During a period of 42 months, 209 patients underwent pancreatic head resection or total pancreatectomy. Bile leaks occurred in 4% (8/209) and were more common in patients with distal bile duct cancer. Bile leaks led to longer hospital stay and were associated with abscess formation and other infectious complications. Unlike expected, most postoperative bile leaks occurred in the late postoperative period. Three patients required relaparotomy for biliary peritonitis or delayed visceral hemorrhage, while the other five patients underwent conservative management, including CT drainage and antibiotic therapy. One patient with a postoperative bile leak died due to delayed visceral hemorrhage. In contrast to recently published data, isolated postoperative bile leaks after pancreatectomy often occur in the late postoperative period and more frequently require a relaparotomy than the literature suggests. The presented study results may sensitize surgeons for this often disregarded topic and activate the discussion on treatment options.