Outcomes after Frey's procedure for chronic pancreatitis: a 8-year single-center experience in Colombia

Juliana González, Daniela Ayala, Nicolás Caballero, Carlos Eduardo Rey Chaves, Danny Conde, Juan Carlos Sabogal Olarte

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


BACKGROUND: Chronic pancreatitis is an inflammatory disease characterized by irreversible morphological changes due to chronic pancreatic fibrosis. The treatment goals are to relieve pain, preserve function, and prevent further pathological consequences. Endoscopic treatment, surgery, or both are options for untreatable pain or suspected malignancy. Frey procedure is a reasonable surgical intervention because of its hybrid character, combining resection and drainage. Unfortunately, there is limited information about the outcomes of this procedure in Latin America, and few cases described in Colombia. This study aims to describe the experience of a pancreatic surgery reference center in the management of patients undergoing Frey's surgery for chronic pancreatitis.

METHODS: A retrospective review of a prospectively collected database of patients who underwent a Frey procedure due to chronic pancreatitis between January 2014 to February 2022 in a hospital in Bogotá, Colombia, was made. A demographic, clinical, and postoperative outcome description was performed. Mann-Whitney Willcoxon test was performed between operative variables and long-term outcomes.

RESULTS: Eighteen patients met the inclusion criteria. 55.5% of patients were male. Chronic pancreatitis etiology in most cases (83.3% n = 15) was idiopathic. The median duration of symptoms and chronic pancreatitis diagnosis before surgery was 6.15 months (IQR 5;97). Overall morbidity was 38.88%. One patient died at 30 days of follow-up. The median follow-up time was 42.5 (IQR 19;65 months). The median pain reduction was 3 points according to the visual analog score. Six patients were diagnosed with malignant conditions after surgery (mean 27.8 ± 7.5 months). Wirsung's duct size was statistically related with malignancy presentation after Frey's procedure (Z = 2.54; P = 0.01).

CONCLUSION: According to our data, Frey's procedure remains safe and feasible, with acceptable outcomes in terms of pain relief and pancreatic function. The study confirms the importance of a longstanding follow-up due to an inherent risk of pancreatic malignancy. Our data suggest that pancreatic duct size could be related with the malignancy diagnosis after Frey's procedure; however, further prospective studies with a larger sample size would be helpful to confirm these results.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)424
Number of pages1
JournalBMC Surgery
Issue number1
StatePublished - 12 Dec 2022


  • Humans
  • Male
  • Female
  • Prospective Studies
  • Pancreatitis, Chronic/surgery
  • Pancreas
  • Pancreatic Diseases
  • Pain
  • Frey procedure
  • Chronic pancreatitis
  • Follow-up
  • Pancreatojejunostomy
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Abdominal pain
  • Pancreatic surgery


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