Imaging after Pancreatic Surgery: Expected Findings and Postoperative Complications
Ayman H Gaballah, Irfan A Kazi, Atif Zaheer, Peter S Liu, Mohamed Badawy, Mariam Moshiri, Mohamed K Ibrahim, Moataz Soliman, Eric Kimchi, Khaled M Elsayes
Radiographics . 2024 Jan;44(1):e230061. doi: 10.1148/rg.230061.
Pancreatic surgery is considered one of the most technically challenging surgical procedures, despite the evolution of modern techniques. Neoplasms remain the most common indication for pancreatic surgery, although inflammatory conditions may also prompt surgical evaluation. The choice of surgical procedure depends on the type and location of the pathologic finding because different parts of the pancreas have separate vascular supplies that may be shared by adjacent organs. The surgical approach could be conventional or minimally invasive (laparoscopic, endoscopic, or robotic assisted). Because of the anatomic complexity of the pancreatic bed, perioperative complications may be frequently encountered and commonly involve the pancreatic-biliary, vascular, lymphatic, or bowel systems, irrespective of the surgical technique used. Imaging plays an important role in the assessment of suspected postoperative complications, with CT considered the primary imaging modality, while MRI, digital subtraction angiography, and molecular imaging are considered ancillary diagnostic tools. Accurate diagnosis of postoperative complications requires a solid understanding of pancreatic anatomy, surgical indications, normal postoperative appearance, and expected postsurgical changes. The practicing radiologist should be familiar with the most common perioperative complications, such as anastomotic leak, abscess, and hemorrhage, and be able to differentiate these entities from normal anticipated postoperative changes such as seroma, edema and fat stranding at the surgical site, and perivascular soft-tissue thickening. In addition to evaluation of the primary operative fossa, imaging plays a fundamental role in assessment of the adjacent organ systems secondarily affected after pancreatic surgery, such as vascular, biliary, and enteric complications. Published under a CC BY 4.0 license. Test Your Knowledge questions are available in the supplemental material. See the invited commentary by Winslow in this issue.