This prospective study was designed to compare quality of life (QoL) among patients who underwent open (O-PD) vs minimally invasive pancreaticoduodenectomy (MI-PD), using a combination of validated qualitative and quantitative methodologies.
From 2017 to 2019, patients scheduled for pancreaticoduodenectomy (PD) were enrolled and presented with Functional Assessment of Cancer Therapy-Hepatobiliary surveys preoperatively, before discharge, at first postoperative visit and approximately 3 to 4 months after operation (“3 months”). Longitudinal plots of median QoL scores were used to illustrate change in each score over time. In a subset of patients, content analysis of semistructured interviews at postoperative time points (1.5 to 6 months after operation) was conducted.
Among 56 patients who underwent PD, 33 had an O-PD (58.9%). Physical and functional scores decreased in the postoperative period but returned to baseline by 3 months. No significant differences were found in any domains of QoL at baseline and in the postoperative period between patients who underwent O-PD and MI-PD. Qualitative findings were concordant with quantitative data (n = 14). Patients with O-PD and MI-PD reported similar experiences with complications, pain, and wound healing in the postoperative period. Approximately half the patients in both groups reported “returning to normal” in the 6-month postoperative period. A total of 4 patients reported significant long-term issues with physical and functional well-being.
Using a novel combination of qualitative and quantitative analyses in patients undergoing PD, we found no association between operative approach and QoL in patients who underwent O-PD vs MI-PD. Given the increasing use of minimally invasive techniques for PD and the steep learning curve associated with these techniques, continued assessment of patient benefit is critical.