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‘Artery-first’ Approaches To Pancreatoduodenectomy

P Sanjay, K Takaori, S Govil, S V Shrikhande, J A Windsor

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Abstract Background The technique of pancreatoduodenectomy (PD) has evolved. Previously, non-resectability was determined by involvement of the portal vein–superior mesenteric vein. Because venous resection can be achieved safely and with greater awareness of the prognostic significance of the status of the posteromedial resection margin, non-resectability is now determined by involvement of the superior mesenteric artery (SMA). This change, with a need for early determination of resectability before an irreversible step, has promoted the development of an ‘artery-first’ approach. The aim of this study was to review, and illustrate, this approach. Methods An electronic search was performed on MEDLINE, Embase and PubMed databases from 1960 to 2011 using both medical subject headings and truncated word searches to identify all published articles that related to this topic. Results The search revealed six different surgical approaches that can be considered as ‘artery first’. These involved approaching the SMA from the retroperitoneum (posterior approach), the uncinate process (medial uncinate approach), the infracolic region medial to the duodenojejunal flexure (inferior infracolic or mesenteric approach), the infracolic retroperitoneum lateral to the duodenojenunal flexure (left posterior approach), the supracolic region (inferior supracolic approach) and through the lesser sac (superior approach). Conclusion The six approaches described provide a range of options for the early determination of arterial involvement, depending on the location and size of the tumour, and before the ‘point of no return’. Whether these approaches will achieve an increase in the proportion of patients with negative margins, improve locoregional control and increase long-term survival has yet to be determined.