• minimally invasive necrosectomy;
  • review


Objective:  This paper reviews current knowledge on minimally invasive pancreatic necrosectomy.

Background:  Blunt (non-anatomical) debridement of necrotic tissue at laparotomy is the standard method of treatment of infected post-inflammatory pancreatic necrosis. Recognition that laparotomy may add to morbidity by increasing postoperative organ dysfunction has led to the development of alternative, minimally invasive methods for debridement. This study reports the status of minimally invasive necrosectomy by different approaches.

Methods:  Searches of MEDLINE and EMBASE for the period 1996–2008 were undertaken. Only studies with original data and information on outcome were included. This produced a final population of 28 studies reporting on 344 patients undergoing minimally invasive necrosectomy, with a median (range) number of patients per study of nine (1–53). Procedures were categorized as retroperitoneal, endoscopic or laparoscopic.

Results:  A total of 141 patients underwent retroperitoneal necrosectomy, of whom 58 (41%) had complications and 18 (13%) required laparotomy. There were 22 (16%) deaths. Overall, 157 patients underwent endoscopic necrosectomy; major complications were reported in 31 (20%) and death in seven (5%). Laparoscopic necrosectomy was carried out in 46 patients, of whom five (11%) required laparotomy and three (7%) died.

Conclusions:  Minimally invasive necrosectomy is technically feasible and a body of evidence now suggests that acceptable outcomes can be achieved. There are no comparisons of results, either with open surgery or among different minimally invasive techniques.