The pancreas is a gland located at the back of the abdomen. It produces several digestive enzymes and also plays a vital role in maintaining blood sugar levels.
There are many indications for pancreatic surgery however the most common reason is cancer or pre-cancerous problems. There is also a range of operations that are performed.
Pancreatoduodenectomy (Whipple Procedure)
A Whipple procedure removes the head of the pancreas along with several other adjacent organs including the gallbladder, duodenum, a part of the bile duct and sometimes a part of the stomach. The remaining bile duct, intestine, and pancreas are then reconnected so that enzymes and bile can flow back into the intestines. Infection, bleeding, diarrhoea, weight loss and diabetes are possible surgical complications of this procedure. You will be able to eat small amounts of food and may have to take medications to assist digestion.
Distal pancreatectomy/Radical Anterograde Modular Pancreatectomy (RAMP)
If a tumour is located in the body or tail of the pancreas, it can be removed with either a Distal pancreatectomy or Radical Anterograde Modular Pancreatectomy (RAMP) depending on the severity of the disease. When compared to a Whipple procedure, it has a smaller risk profile and is usually associated with a shorter period of recovery.
Sometimes only a central part of the pancreas is involved with a disease and a central pancreatectomy allows this region to be removed while leaving the remainder of the pancreas. This decreases the risk of diabetes and pancreatic exocrine insufficiency after the surgery. It is generally only performed for pre-cancerous lesions.