Surgeon experience contributes to improved outcomes in pancreatoduodenectomies at high risk for fistula development.
Abstract Background Pancreatoduodenectomies at high risk for clinically relevant pancreatic fistula are uncommon, yet intimidating, situations. In such scenarios, the impact of individual surgeon experience on outcomes is poorly understood. Methods The fistula risk score was applied to identify high-risk patients (fistula risk score 7–10) from 7,706 pancreatoduodenectomies performed at 18 international institutions (2003–2020). For each case, surgeon pancreatoduodenectomy career volume and years of practice were linked to intraoperative fistula mitigation strategy adoption and outcomes. Consequently, best operative approaches for clinically relevant pancreatic fistula prevention and best performer profiles were identified through multivariable analysis models. Results Eight hundred and thirty high-risk pancreatoduodenectomies, performed by 64 surgeons, displayed an overall clinically relevant pancreatic fistula rate of 33.7%. Clinically relevant pancreatic fistula rates decreased with escalating surgeon career pancreatoduodenectomy (–49.7%) and career length (–41.2%; both P Conclusion Surgeon experience is a key contributor to achieve better outcomes after high-risk pancreatoduodenectomy. Surgeons can improve their performance in these challenging situations by employing pancreatojejunostomy reconstruction, omitting prophylactic octreotide, and minimizing blood loss.