• In recent years, the morbidity, mortality, and long-term survival of patients undergoing surgery for periampullary adenocarcinoma have improved. These changes have prompted us to reoperate on patients who have previously undergone pancreatobiliary surgery, many of whom were initially considered to have unresectable lesions. From 1979 to 1990, 38 patients with pancreatic and 17 patients with nonpancreatic periampullary adenocarcinoma underwent reexploratory surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital, Baltimore, Md. Thirty-three (60%) of these 55 patients had resection at the time of second laparotomy. Of the 46 patients undergoing reexploratory surgery with an intent to resect, the overall resection rate was 72% (33), 64% (16/25) for pancreatic and 100% for nonpancreatic periampullary adenocarcinoma. Postoperative complications occurred in 21 patients (38%), but only one patient (2%) died following surgery. Mean survivals from reexploratory surgery were 6.9 months for the 22 patients with pancreatic cancer undergoing palliative surgery, 20.5 months for the 16 patients with resectable pancreatic cancer, and 33.0 months for the 17 patients with nonpancreatic periampullary adenocarcinoma undergoing resection. We conclude that in carefully selected patients, reoperative surgery for periampullary cancer (1) provides a significant resection rate, (2) can be performed safely, and (3) offers a chance for long-term survival.
(Arch Surg. 1991;126:1205-1212)