Distal pancreatectomy involves surgical resection of the body and/or tail of the pancreas to the left of the blood vessels. This often involves removal of the spleen (splenectomy) at the same time due to the relationship between the spleen’s blood vessels and the pancreas.
Lesions in the body and tail of the pancreas become symptomatic as they enlarge and invade surrounding structures. However, with the increasing use of imaging studies, more incidental pancreatic lesions are discovered and diagnosed. Smaller lesions diagnosed at earlier stages are more amenable to surgical treatment.