Background Circumportal pancreas is a rare congenital pancreatic anomaly. The aim of this study was to clarify the clinical characteristics of patients with circumportal pancreases undergoing pancreatectomy. Methods The medical records of 508 patients who underwent pancreatectomy were retrospectively reviewed. The prevalence of circumportal pancreas and related anatomical variations were assessed. Surgical procedures and postoperative outcomes were compared in patients with and without circumportal pancreas. Results Circumportal pancreas was observed in 9 of the 508 patients (1.7%). In all nine patients, the portal vein was completely encircled by the pancreatic parenchyma above the level of the splenoportal junction, and the main pancreatic duct ran dorsal to the portal vein. The rate of variant hepatic artery did not differ significantly in patients with and without circumportal pancreas. Pancreatic fistula developed more frequently in patients with than without circumportal pancreas (44% vs. 14%, p = 0.03), but other clinical parameters did not differ significantly in these two groups. Conclusions Despite being rare, circumportal pancreas may increase the risk of postoperative pancreatic fistula in patients undergoing pancreatectomy. However, a prospective, large-cohort study is necessary to determine the real incidence of relevant anatomical variations and the definitive clinical significance of this rare anomaly.
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