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J.Jpn. Surg. Soc.. 112(3): 170-176, 2011
ANATOMY OF THE PANCREATIC NERVE PLEXUSES AND SIGNIFICANCE OF THEIR DISSECTION
Although various therapeutic modalities for carcinoma of the pancreas are available, curative resection is the most important. Thus, the aim of surgery for carcinoma of the pancreas is local complete resection of the carcinoma. All of the important pancreaticoduodenal arcades of arteries, veins, and nerves are situated on the fusion fascia of Treits. The pancreatic parenchyma, extrapancreatic nerve plexuses, superior mesenteric artery (SMA), and portal vein are also covered within the fusion fascia and exist in the same area. Carcinoma of the head of the pancreas invades through the pancreatic parenchyma, following the arteries, veins, and especially nerves between the parenchyma and fusion fascia, and then spreads horizontally toward the SMA or celiac axis. The entire dissected end of the nerve plexus should be investigated during surgery using frozen specimens and confirmed to be negative for cancer. If the dissected end is positive for cancer, additional resection of the nerve plexus should be performed to achieve curative resection. It is not possible to investigate thoroughly whether the dissected end of the nerve plexus is positive or negative for carcinoma after surgery, since the end may be long and some specimens may be deformed by formalin fixation; thus it is difficult to identify the true surgically dissected end. The pancreaticoduodenal artery arises from the left side of the SMA and divides into two arteries: jejunal artery 1; and the inferior pancreaticoduodenal artery (IPDA), which runs behind and transversely to the right of both the anterior and posterior IPDA. A common origin of the anterior and posterior IPDA is found in 80% of cases. The postoperative course of patients with pancreatic head carcinoma with invasion of the perineural plexuses immediately behind the SMA is not as good as in that of patients without cancerous invasion, even if additional resection is performed so that the dissected end is confirmed to be negative during surgery. Nevertheless, intraoperative pathologic examination of the entire dissected end of the neural plexues remains necessary for curative R Zero resection.
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