Quality of life after bilateral thoracoscopic splanchnicectomy: Long-term evaluation in patients with chronic pancreatitis

Thomas J. Howard, John B. Swofford, Dennis L. Wagner, Stuart Sherman, Glen A. Lehman, C. F. Frey, J. Disario, N. J. Soper, L. W. Traverso, L. W. Way, David W. Rattner

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46 Scopus citations


We prospectively evaluated quality of life and visual analogue scale pain scores after bilateral thoracoscopic splanchnicectomy in 55 patients with small-duct chronic pancreatitis and abdominal pain. The perioperative morbidity rate was 11% and there were no perioperative deaths. Four late deaths occurred (7%), and three patients were lost to follow-up. Patients were divided into those who had prior operative or endoscopic interventions (N = 38) and those who did not (N = 17). Preoperatively there were no significant differences between the two groups with regard to age, sex, etiology, pain score, or narcotic use. Pain score, narcotic use, and symptoms scales improved significantly in both groups at 3 and 6 months postoperatively (P < 0.0001). The group with no prior surgical or endoscopic intervention did significantly better initially (P < 0.007), and the improvements in their quality-of-life and pain scores continued for the remainder of the study. In contrast, quality-of-life and pain scores in patients who had undergone prior surgical or endoscopic intervention returned to baseline by 12 months postoperatively and remained poor throughout the remainder of the study. Bilateral thoracoscopic splanchnicectomy appears to work best in patients who have had no prior operative or endoscopic interventions.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)845-854
Number of pages10
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number6
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002



  • Chronic abdominal pain
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Thoracoscopic splanchnicectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery

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