Total Pancreatectomy With Islet Autotransplantation for Acute Recurrent and Chronic Pancreatitis

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PURPOSE OF REVIEW: The first total pancreatectomy and islet autotransplantation (TP-IAT) was performed for chronic pancreatitis in 1977 with the goal to ameliorate the pain and simultaneously preserve islet function. We reviewed the recent medical literature regarding indications, patient suitability, current outcomes, and challenges in TP-IAT.

RECENT FINDINGS: Current indications for TP-IAT include intractable pain secondary to chronic pancreatitis (CP) or acute recurrent pancreatitis (ARP) with failed medical and endoscopic/surgical management. Independent studies have shown that TP-IAT is associated with elimination or significant improvement in pain control and partial or full islet graft function in the majority of patients. In single-center cost analyses, TP-IAT has been suggested to be more cost-effective than medical management of chronic pancreatitis. While initially introduced as a surgical option for adults with long-standing chronic pancreatitis, TP-IAT is now often utilized in children with chronic pancreatitis and in children and adults with intractable acute recurrent pancreatitis. The surgical procedure has evolved over time with some centers offering minimally invasive operative options, although the open approach remains the standard. Despite many advances in TP-IAT, there is a need for further research and development in disease diagnosis, patient selection, optimization of surgical technique, islet isolation and quality assessment, postoperative patient management, and establishment of uniform metrics for data collection and multicenter studies. TP-IAT is an option for patients with otherwise intractable acute recurrent or chronic pancreatitis which presents potential for pain relief and improved quality of life, often with partial or complete diabetes remission.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)548-561
Number of pages14
JournalCurrent Treatment Options in Gastroenterology
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 2017

PubMed: MeSH publication types

  • Journal Article
  • Review


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