Background The aim of this study was to determine the short- and long-term results of the Frey procedure for chronic pancreatitis. Methods From November 1998 to December 2013, 41 patients underwent the Frey procedure for painful chronic pancreatitis at Kyushu University Hospital. The short- and long-term results of the Frey procedure including mortality, morbidity, pain relief, weight gain and pancreatic endocrine function were analyzed. The long-term results were analyzed in 29 patients who had been followed-up for more than 12 months. The long-term follow-up rate was 85%. Results There was no mortality. Early postoperative complications occurred in seven patients (17%), including pancreatic fistula in four (10%, International Study Group of Pancreatic Fistula ISGPF grade B) and hemorrhage in three (7%). Long-term relief of abdominal pain was achieved in 90% (26/29) of cases. One patient developed relapse of inflammation of the head of pancreas during the follow-up period, necessitating pylorus-resecting pancreatoduodenectomy. Only two patients (7%) developed new-onset diabetes mellitus after the Frey procedure during the follow-up period. Conclusions The Frey procedure for painful chronic pancreatitis may be safe and pancreatic endocrine function is preserved. Complete decompression of the pancreatic ducts in the head of pancreas and full length drainage of the main pancreatic duct from the head of pancreas to the tail may be important in the Frey procedure to prevent recurrence of acute inflammation.
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