The infracolic approach to pancreatoduodenectomy for large pancreatic head tumours invading the colon

R. Alvarado-Bachmann, J. Choi, S. Gananadha, T. J. Hugh, J. S. Samra*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

9 Citations (Scopus)


Background: Tumours arising from the head of the pancreas can invade both the proximal transverse colon and its mesocolon. At laparoscopy, this may be considered a contraindication to proceeding to pancreatoduodenectomy. However, in some patients, pancreatoduodenectomy can still be performed with an R0 resection using an en-bloc resection technique by an infracolic approach. Methods: This technique relies on the infracolic control of the superior mesenteric vein (SMV) and is based on the presence of a normal fat cuff around the superior mesenteric artery (SMA) on pre-operative imaging. The dissection is maintained along the adventitial plane of the SMA. Pancreatoduodenectomy is performed in conjunction with en-bloc resection of the transverse colon. In the event of tumour invading the SMV, this is also resected en-bloc with the pancreatic head and transverse colon. We reviewed all such cases performed at our institution between April 2004 and April 2009. Results: This technique was attempted in eleven patients. In two patients, the procedure had to be abandoned because of unexpected SMA encasement by tumour. In the remaining nine patients this procedure was carried out successfully. In this paper, the infracolic approach to pancreatoduodenectomy, and the associated limitations, are described in detail. Conclusion: The infracolic technique may be used to deal with large pancreatic head tumours and all pancreatic surgeons should be familiar with this technique. In the absence of metastatic disease, large pancreatic head tumours involving the colon can be resected en-bloc with the pancreatic head, as long as the SMA is not encased by the tumour. Crown

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)1220-1224
Number of pages5
JournalEuropean Journal of Surgical Oncology
Issue number12
Publication statusPublished - 2010
Externally publishedYes


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