Surgical management of pancreatic necrosis: A practice management guideline from the Eastern Association for the Surgery of Trauma

Nathan T. Mowery*, Brandon R. Bruns, Heather G. Macnew, Suresh Agarwal, Toby M. Enniss, Mansoor Khan, Weidun Alan Guo, Jeremy W. Cannon, Matthew E. Lissauer, Therese M. Duane, Amy N. Hildreth, Peter A. Pappas, Lynn M. Gries, Meghann Kaiser, Bryce R.H. Robinson

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

43 Scopus citations


Background: Pancreatic or peripancreatic tissue necrosis confers substantial morbidity and mortality. New modalities have created a wide variation in approaches and timing of interventions for necrotizing pancreatitis. As acute care surgery evolves, its practitioners are increasingly being called upon to manage these complex patients. Methods: A systematic review of the MEDLINE database using PubMed was performed. English language articles regarding pancreatic necrosis from 1980 to 2014 were included. Letters to the editor, case reports, book chapters, and review articles were excluded. Topics of investigation included operative timing, the use of adjuvant therapy and the type of operative repair. Grading of Recommendations, Assessment, Development and Evaluations methodology was applied to question development, outcome prioritization, evidence quality assessments, and recommendation creation. Results: Eighty-eight studies were included and underwent full review. Increasing the time to surgical intervention had an improved outcome in each of the periods evaluated (72 hours, 12-14 days, 30 days) with a significant improvement in outcomes if surgery was delayed 30 days. The use of percutaneous and endoscopic procedures was shown to postpone surgery and potentially be definitive. The use of minimally invasive surgery for debridement and drainage has been shown to be safe and associated with reduced morbidity and mortality. Conclusion: Acute Care Surgeons are uniquely trained to care for those with pancreatic necrosis due their training in critical care and complex surgery with ongoing shock. In adult patients with pancreatic necrosis, we recommend that pancreatic necrosectomy be delayed until at least day 12. During the first 30 days of symptoms with infected necrotic collections, we conditionally recommend surgical debridement only if the patients fail to improve after radiologic or endoscopic drainage. Finally, even with documented infected necrosis, we recommend that patients undergo a step-up approach to surgical intervention as the preferred surgical approach. Level of Evidence Systematic review/guideline, level III.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)316-327
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Trauma and Acute Care Surgery
Issue number2
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2017
Externally publishedYes


  • Acute care surgery
  • evidence-based medicine
  • pancreatic necrosectomy
  • pancreatic necrosis
  • practice management guideline


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