Pylorus-preserving pancreaticoduodenectomy represents an important advance in the history of pancreatic surgery. The operation can be performed with a low operative mortality and morbidity, is technically easier than the standard Whipple resection, and it minimizes the long-term physiological disturbance to the patient. Clinical and experimental evidence has substantiated the view that preservation of the pylorus reduces the incidence of marginal anastomotic ulceration following pancreatectomy. Although gastric emptying may be prolonged transiently in the immediate postoperative period, this complication is easily managed, and is hardly a frequent long-term problem. PPPD is associated with a lower incidence of enterogastric reflux, dumping and diarrhoea than the classical Whipple operation, and patients who have had PPPD are more likely to regain their preoperative and preillness weight. Initial concerns about the use of PPPD in malignant disease have not been borne out, and should now be considered for curative or palliative resections of lesions in the periampullary region including the head of the pancreas. Present data suggest that PPPD does not compromise the long-term survival in patients with periampullary cancers. There is little doubt that the excellent results reported with this procedure as with other forms of major pancreatic surgery, are not simply related to improvements in surgical technique but to establishment of specialist pancreatic surgery.
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