The anatomical configuration of the splenic artery influences suprapancreatic lymph node dissection in laparoscopic gastrectomy: analysis using a 3D volume rendering program

Chunchao Zhu, Seong Ho Kong, Tae Han Kim, Shin Hoo Park, Rene Ronson G. Ang, Michele Diana, Luc Soler, Yun Suhk Suh, Hyuk-Joon Lee, Jacques Marescaux, Hui Cao, Han-Kwang Yang

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Background: The aim of this study is to categorize splenic artery and vein configurations, and examine their influence on suprapancreatic lymph node (LN) dissection in laparoscopic gastrectomy. Methods: Digital Imaging and Communications in Medicine images from 169 advanced cancer patients who underwent laparoscopic gastrectomy with D2 dissection were used to reconstruct perigastric vessels in 3D using a volume rendering program (VP Planning®). Splenic artery and vein configuration were classified depending on the relative position of their lowest part in regard to the pancreas. Number of resected LNs and surgical outcomes were analyzed. Results: The splenic artery was categorized as superficial (36.7%), middle (49.1%), and concealed (14.2%), and the splenic vein was categorized as superior (6.5%), middle (42.0%), and inferior to the pancreas (51.5%). The number of resected LNs around the proximal half of the splenic artery (#11p) and the proportion of the splenic vein located inferiorly to the pancreas were significantly higher in splenic arteries of concealed types. LN metastasis of station #7 was an independent risk factor of LN metastasis in station #11p (p = 0.010). Concealed types showed a tendency towards longer operating times, more blood loss, longer hospital stays, and a higher postoperative morbidity. Conclusion: Concealed types of splenic artery are associated with an increased difficulty in the dissection of LN station #11p around the splenic artery. A 3D volume rendering program is a useful tool to rapidly and intuitively identify individual anatomical variations, to plan a tailored surgical strategy, and to predict potential challenges.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)3697-3705
Number of pages9
JournalSurgical Endoscopy
Issue number8
StatePublished - 1 Aug 2018


  • Gastric cancer
  • Lymphadenectomy
  • Splenic artery
  • Vascular anatomy

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