Background: Minimally invasive distal pancreatectomy (MIDP) has been suggested to reduce postoperative outcomes as compared to open distal pancreatectomy (ODP). Recently, the first randomized controlled trials (RCTs) comparing MIDP to ODP were published. This individual patient data meta-analysis compared outcomes after MIDP versus ODP combining data from both RCTs. Methods: A systematic literature search was performed to identify RCTs on MIDP vs. ODP, and individual patient data were harmonized. Primary endpoint was the rate of major (Clavien-Dindo ≥ III) complications. Sensitivity analyses were performed in high-risk subgroups. Results: A total of 166 patients from the LEOPARD and LAPOP RCTs were included. The rate of major complications was 21% after MIDP vs. 35% after ODP (adjusted odds ratio 0.54; p = 0.148). MIDP significantly reduced length of hospital stay (6 vs. 8 days, p = 0.036), and delayed gastric emptying (4% vs. 16%, p = 0.049), as compared to ODP. A trend towards higher rates of postoperative pancreatic fistula was observed after MIDP (36% vs. 28%, p = 0.067). Outcomes were comparable in high-risk subgroups. Conclusion: This individual patient data meta-analysis showed that MIDP, when performed by trained surgeons, may be regarded as the preferred approach for distal pancreatectomy. Outcomes are improved after MIDP as compared to ODP, without obvious downsides in high-risk subgroups.
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