Lateral pancreaticojejunostomy has demonstrated variable success in the management of chronic pancreatitis associated with ductal dilation, but its role in patients with nondilated ducts is poorly defined. The aim of this study was to assess the outcome of lateral pancreaticojejunostomy in chronic pancreatitis with nondilated pancreatic ducts. The records of all patients who underwent lateral pancreaticojejunostomy with a pancreatic duct measuring less than 7 mm in diameter were reviewed. Seventeen patients underwent lateral pancreaticojejunostomy for chronic pancreatitis and intractable pain between 1995 and 1996. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography demonstrated features of chronic pancreatitis that were mild in seven patients, moderate in five, and severe in four. Postoperative complications occurred in two patients (11.7%). There were no deaths. Mean length of follow-up was 10.3 months (range 3 to 16 months). Rehospitalization for recurrent pancreatitis or pain was necessary in 59% of patients. Emergency room visits were reported by 76%. Narcotic use continued in 88%, with 76% of the patients reporting their pain as the same or worse than before the operation, and 65% continuing to view their health status as poor. In chronic pancreatitis patients with a nondilated pancreatic duct, lateral pancreaticojejunostomy appears to be of little benefit with respect to pain relief, subsequent hospitalization, continued narcotic use, or overall health status.
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