With the development of interventional radiology and endoscopy, the practice of inserting expandable metallic stents for malignant jaundice has become widespread. Many studies have compared surgical bypass with polyethylene stents, or metallic stents with polyethylene stents. However, few data are available on the comparison of surgical bypass and metallic stents. The aim of this study was to compare the patient's postprocedure course and the cost performance of surgical bypass and metallic stents in patients with unresectable pancreatic cancer. The parameters analyzed were the rates of procedural and therapeutic success, duration of hospital stay, prevalence of early and late complications, cost performance, and prognosis. The rates of procedural and therapeutic success were excellent with both palliative treatments. With surgical bypass, there was a low prevalence of late complications, but duodenal obstruction sometimes occurred in patients without gastric bypass. With metallic stents, there was shorter hospitalization and lower cost, but a higher prevalence of late complications. Stent occlusion tended to occur in patients with uncovered metallic stents. There was no difference in the prognosis between the two palliative treatments. Thus, in consideration of the poor prognosis of pancreatic cancer, in patients with unresectable pancreatic cancer, insertion of covered metallic stents would be preferable to surgical bypass, because of the subsequent short hospitalization and the low cost. On the other hand, in patients with a relatively long expected prognosis, or in those with existing duodenal obstruction, biliary bypass with gastrojejunostomy may provide an advantage.
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