Bilateral Thoracoscopic Splanchnicectomy for Pain Control in Chronic Pancreatitis

Hammond, Bethanie; Vitale, Gary C.; Rangnekar, Nick; Vitale, Emily A.; Binford, John C.
June 2004
American Surgeon;Jun2004, Vol. 70 Issue 6, p546
Academic Journal
The purpose of this study was to evaluate prospectively the efficacy of bilateral thoracoscopic splanchnicectomy (TS) for pain due to chronic pancreatitis. Pain is invariably a major debilitating factor in the course of chronic pancreatitis. This study was performed to evaluate the effect of bilateral TS on pain intensity, hospital admissions, and daily functions in patients with debilitating pain due to chronic pancreatitis. Twenty bilateral TS were performed in 20 patients. Follow-up was obtained in all patients and averaged 15 months (6 months to 3 years). To evaluate efficacy of the procedure, all 20 patients were personally interviewed after TS regarding impact of pain and change in lifestyle. Using the 0-10 numeric rating scale, patients ranked pre- and postoperative pain level and overall mood. A KASPER report was obtained for 17 of 20 patients from the Kentucky Drug Control and Professional Practices to obtain accurate information on all narcotic prescriptions filled for 1 year prior to surgery until today. Information from the KASPER report provided very objective information on pain medication use before and after TS. Thirteen patients (65%) had a decreased pain level, and 12 patients (55%) also developed an improved overall mood. The number of hospital admissions for chronic pancreatitis pain decreased in 19 patients (95%), and the days spent in the hospital decreased for 15 patients (75%). Overall, 12 patients (60%) indicated pain symptom relief during a mean duration of 14.8 months after the procedure. KASPER reports indicated a decrease in pain medication prescriptions filled for 9 patients (53%), 3 of which were able to discontinue completely use of opioids for pain associated with chronic pancreatitis. TS is a minimally invasive procedure that appears to offer pain relief, improve quality of life, and reduce narcotic dependence in patients with pain from chronic pancreatitis. The decrease in hospital admissions represents further quality of life...


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