Absorbable mesh reinforcement of a stapled pancreatic transection line reduces the leak rate with distal pancreatectomy

Reuben I. Thaker, Brent D. Matthews, David C. Linehan, Steven M. Strasberg, J. Chris Eagon, William G. Hawkins

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

75 Scopus citations


Pancreatic leak remains a significant cause of morbidity after distal pancreatectomy. We report the use of an absorbable mesh to reinforce a stapled pancreatic transection line for distal pancreatectomy. Forty consecutive distal pancreatectomies (33 open and 7 laparoscopic) were performed since the introduction of mesh reinforcement. We utilized an inclusive definition of pancreatic leak to critically evaluate the staple line reinforcement material. In addition, we compared the pancreatic leak rate for this case series with the antecedent 40 cases where mesh reinforcement was not available. In the prospective series there was 1 leak in 29 cases (3.5%) in which mesh reinforcement was utilized, and 4 leaks in 11 cases (36%) when mesh was not utilized (p∈<∈0.005). The 12.5% leak rate for the 40 cases during the prospective period, compared favorably to the 27.5% leak rate for the 40 cases preceding the study period (p∈=∈0.09). Twenty-nine cases receiving mesh compared favorably to the 23 stapled cases in the control series, reducing leak rate from 22 to 3.5% (p∈=∈0.04). Mesh reinforcement of the stapled pancreatic transection line reduced the pancreatic leak rate after distal pancreatectomy. Mesh reinforcement was possible with open or laparoscopic resections. No complications were attributable to the use of absorbable mesh.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)59-65
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2007


  • Distal pancreatectomy
  • Mesh reinforcement
  • Pancreatic fistula
  • Pancreatic leak
  • SeamGuard


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