Background: Minimally invasive distal pancreatectomy (MIDP) is increasingly performed worldwide; however, the surgical anatomy required to safely perform MIDP has not yet been fully considered. This review evaluated the literature concerning peripancreatic vascular anatomy, which is considered important to conduct safe MIDP. Methods: A database search of PubMed and Ichushi (Japanese) was conducted. Qualified studies investigating the anatomical variations of peripancreatic vessels related to MIDP were evaluated using SIGN methodology. Results: Of 701 articles yielded by our search strategy, 76 articles were assessed in this systematic review. The important vascular anatomy required to recognize MIDP included the pancreatic parenchymal coverage on the root and the running course of the splenic artery, branching patterns of the splenic artery, confluence positions of the left gastric vein and the inferior mesenteric vein, forms of pancreatic veins including the centro-inferior pancreatic vein, characteristics of the left renal vein, and collateral routes perfusing the spleen following Warshaw's technique. Very few articles evaluating the relationship between the anatomical variations and surgical outcomes of MIDP were found. Conclusions: The precise knowledge of peripancreatic vessels is important to adequately complete MIDP. More detailed anatomic analyses and descriptions will benefit surgeons and their patients who are facing these operations.
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