Background: Based on our experience of suprapancreatic nodal dissection in laparoscopic gastrectomy, we developed an outermost layer-oriented medial approach for infrapyloric nodal dissection. The objective of this single-institution retrospective study was to determine the feasibility, safety, and reproducibility of this novel and unique dissection procedure. Methods: This approach can be performed in the same manner as suprapancreatic nodal dissection but by replacing the left gastric artery with the right gastroepiploic artery (RGEA), the common hepatic artery with the anterior superior pancreaticoduodenal artery (ASPDA), and the splenic artery with the gastroduodenal artery. It comprises five steps: (1) mobilization of the transverse mesocolon along the prepancreatic membrane, (2) medial dissection along the dissectable layer between the pancreatic head and the dorsal side of the right gastroepiploic vein (RGEV), (3) division of the RGEV and determination of the lateral and cranial borders, (4) dissection along the outermost layer of the RGEA and ASPDA and transection of the infrapyloric artery and RGEA, and (5) transection of the duodenal bulb. Results: This novel method was applied in 112 patients who underwent laparoscopic distal gastrectomy from 2014 to 2015. The anatomical landmarks that we determined to appropriately identify the outermost layer were highly reproducible, and our novel procedure based on these landmarks was successfully completed in all cases, without any intraoperative complications. Furthermore, in all cases, no. 6 lymph nodes were fully and adequately dissected within the infrapyloric area anatomically defined in the Japanese Classification of Gastric Carcinoma ver. 14. Pancreatic fistula occurred only in 1.8% cases. Conclusions: This novel outermost layer-oriented medial approach is a robust procedure that may help laparoscopic surgeons in performing safe and reproducible infrapyloric nodal dissection.
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