Background: Data on the risk factors for conversion during minimally invasive distal pancreatectomy (MIDP) and its effect on postoperative outcomes are limited. Methods: This retrospective study used the pancreas-targeted American College of Surgeons National Surgical Quality Improvement Program database to compare MIDP requiring unplanned conversion with completed MIDP and open distal pancreatectomy (ODP). Results: Of the 2926 cases identified in this study, 48.8% had ODP, 42.8% had MIDP, and 7.9% had conversion to MIDP. The conversion rate was 15.3% overall, 17.3% for laparoscopic surgery, and 8.5% for robotic surgery (p < 0.001). The risk factors associated with conversion were higher body mass index (BMI), low preoperative albumin level, a current smoking habit, and malignant T3/T4 disease or chronic pancreatitis compared with benign tumor smaller than 5 cm. A robotic approach was associated with a lower adjusted conversion rate than laparoscopy (odds ratio [OR] 0.32; 95% confidence interval [CI] 0.19–0.52). After adjustment, conversion was associated with a higher overall complication rate than MIDP (OR 1.89; 95% CI 1.35–2.66) or ODP (OR 1.41; 95% CI 1.00–1.98). Conclusions: Chronic pancreatitis, large malignant tumors, higher BMI, lower serum albumin, and a current smoking habit were shown to be independent risk factors for conversion during MIDP. A robotic approach was associated with a lower conversion rate than laparoscopic MIDP. Conversion of MIDP was associated with a higher overall complication rate than completed MIDP or ODP. Adequate patient selection for MIDP may prevent conversion and associated increased morbidity.
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