Thoracoscopic Splanchnicectomy for Intractable Pancreatic Pain
Joseph Kuriansky, Alejandro Saenz, Laureano Fernandez-Cruz
Dept. of Surgery, Sheba Medical Center, Tel Hashomer, and Sackler School of Medicine, Tel Aviv University; and Dept. of Surgery, Clinic Hospital, Barcelona
Intractable pain is the most distressing symptom in nonresectable pancreatic carcinoma and in chronic pancreatitis. Recently, thoracoscopic splanchnicectomy has been advocated as a minimally invasive method of pain control in these patients. Between May 1995 and April 1998, 24 patients with nonresectable pancreatic cancer and 4 with chronic pancreatitis, underwent 43 thoracoscopic splanchnicectomies. All suffered from intractable pain, were opiate-dependent and unable to perform normal daily activities. Unilateral left splanchnicectomy was done in 13 and bilateral in 15.
All procedures were completed thoracoscopically. Operative time ranged from 25 to 60 min and mean hospital stay was 3 days. Median pain intensity was reduced by 50% in 24 and no further narcotics or analgesics were required. We found thoracoscopic splanchnicectomy a safe and effective procedure for intractable pancreatic pain.