Radiologic and intraoperative detection of need for mesenteric vein resection in patients with adenocarcinoma of the head of the pancreas

Matthew R. Porembka, William G. Hawkins, David C. Linehan, Feng Gao, Changqing Ma, Elizabeth M. Brunt, Steven M. Strasberg

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

19 Scopus citations


Objective: The need for mesenteric venous resection (MVR) is determined by a combination of preoperative radiologic and intraoperative surgical assessments. A single-centre review was performed to determine how efficient these processes are in evaluating the need for MVR. Methods: A retrospective study was performed of 343 patients who received resection for adenocarcinoma of the head of the pancreas, 100 of whom underwent MVR. Three radiologic signs (abutment, fat plane obliteration, focal narrowing) were evaluated for their ability to predict the need for MVR. Pathologic assessment was performed to determine if MVR had been necessary to achieve negative-margin (R0) resection. Microscopic tumour in the vein wall, or within 1 mm of the vein wall, was considered to indicate that MVR had been necessary to achieve an R0 resection. Results: Radiologic evaluation (showing any of the three signs) had sensitivity of only 60%. Overall, 40% of the patients who required MVR showed none of the signs. Specificity was 77%. A total of 80% of patients who underwent MVR had either microscopic invasion or abutment. R0 resection at the vein margin was achieved in 98% of patients in both the MVR and non-MVR groups. Conclusions: Preoperative radiologic evaluation is not highly reliable in predicting the need for MVR. Therefore, surgical teams performing resections of cancers of the head of the pancreas must be skilled in MVR as the need for this procedure may arise unexpectedly. Surgical assessment of the need for MVR has an accuracy of about 80% and is nearly 100% accurate in determining when MVR is not required.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)633-642
Number of pages10
Issue number9
StatePublished - Sep 2011



  • Whipple procedure
  • mesenteric vein resection
  • pancreatic cancer
  • pancreatoduodenectomy

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Hepatology
  • Gastroenterology

Cite this