The aim of this study was to analyze the impact of teres ligament covering on pancreatic fistula rate after distal pancreatectomy (DP).
Postoperative pancreatic fistula (POPF) represents the most significant complication after DP. Retrospective studies suggested a benefit of covering the resection margin by a teres ligament patch.
This prospective randomized controlled study (DISCOVER trial) included 152 patients undergoing DP, between October 2010 and July 2014. Patients were randomized to undergo closure of the pancreatic cut margin without (control, n = 76) or with teres ligament coverage (teres, n = 76). The primary endpoint was the rate of POPF, and the secondary endpoints included postoperative morbidity and mortality, length of hospital stay, and readmission rate.
Both groups were comparable regarding epidemiology (age, sex, body mass index), operative parameters (operation time [OP] time, blood loss, method of pancreas transection, additional operative procedures), and histopathological findings. Overall inhospital mortality was 0.6% (1/152 patients). In the group of patients with teres ligament patch, the rate of reoperations (1.3% vs 13.0%; P = 0.009), and also the rate of readmission (13.1 vs 31.5%; P = 0.011) were significantly lower. Clinically relevant POPF rate (grade B/C) was 32.9% (control) versus 22.4% (teres, P = 0.20). Multivariable analysis showed teres ligament coverage to be a protective factor for clinically relevant POPF (P = 0.0146).
Coverage of the pancreatic remnant after DP is associated with less reinterventions, reoperations, and need for readmission. Although the overall fistula rate is not reduced by the coverage procedure, it should be considered as a valid measure for complication prevention due to its clinical benefit.