Department of

Gastroenterology - Whipple Procedure

Department of

Gastroenterology - Whipple Procedure

Whipple Procedure

Whipple Procedure (Pancreaticoduodenectomy)

A cancerous tumor is surgically removed from the head (right side) of your pancreas using the Whipple procedure, also known as a pancreaticoduodenectomy, to prevent it from spreading to other organs (metastasizing). 15% to 20% of those who have pancreatic cancer are candidates for this procedure.

What does the pancreas do and where is it located?

An essential organ present in your abdomen, Pancreas is a fish-like form where the head is the widest area on the right and the thick end is referred to as the tail, while the central portion is known as the neck or body. Your pancreas produces hormones, aids in food digestion, and regulates your blood sugar levels.

Pancreatic cancer: What is it?

A growth (tumor) in your pancreas is what causes this particular sort of cancer. The head, neck, or body of your pancreas are where the tumor typically develops. In the tail, few sprout. Most people who are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer are between the ages of 60 and 80, and smoking is the main risk factor.

When is a Whipple operation performed?

The most frequent cause for a Whipple procedure performed by your surgeon is pancreatic cancer. However, this procedure can also be required for:

  • Cysts in the pancreas.
  • Pancreatitis.
  • Duodenal small bowel cancer.
  • A small intestine or pancreas injury.
  • Ovarian cancer.
  • Liver cancer.
  • Neuropathic tumors

Mode of Surgery

Major inpatient surgery is required for the Whipple procedure. For around a week, you’ll need to recover in the hospital.

How to Prepare for Surgery? 

Before having surgery if you have cancer, you could have radiation or chemotherapy.

You will be told by your surgeon to cease taking specific drugs in the days before your operation. You ought to:

  • Unless otherwise instructed, wait eight hours before visiting the hospital for your Whipple procedure before eating or drinking.
  • To improve heart and lung health, stop smoking, even for just two weeks before the Whipple procedure.
  • As instructed by your doctor, stop using herbal supplements one to two weeks before surgery.
  • As directed by your doctor, you should occasionally (but not always) take blood pressure drugs
  • When you arrive at the hospital, a nurse will place an intravenous (IV) line into your arm so that you can receive the fluids and medications you’ll need for the procedure. A spinal injection or epidural catheter may also be required. They obstruct your nerves, which helps to lessen post-operative discomfort.

What type of surgery is Whipple Procedure? (Open or Minimally Invasive)

An open operation is one in which the surgeon creates a single, sizable incision. Laparoscopic (minimally invasive) surgery involves numerous tiny incisions (incisions). There is typically less blood loss, fewer problems, and a quicker recovery period with minimally invasive surgery. The Whipple technique is often an open surgery, even though a laparoscopic procedure is excellent for many purposes.

Which steps make up the Whipple procedure?

The Whipple process can be distilled into the following steps:

  • A large incision will be made to cut open your abdomen (or, if laparoscopic surgery is performed, only a few minor ones).
  • The area of your pancreas where the tumor is located, the duodenum that surrounds it in the small intestine, the lower piece of the bile duct, the gallbladder, and occasionally a portion of your stomach, will all be removed by your surgeon.
  • Your small intestine connects to the pancreas and bile duct that are still present.
  • The small intestine is then joined back to the stomach, allowing food to move freely throughout the entire digestive system.

What is the duration of the Whipple procedure?

The Whipple technique is a challenging operation that takes 4–12 hours to complete.

What to expect?

After your Whipple procedure, you’ll have pain for some time. Your care team will control your pain while keeping an eye out for any infections or other issues during your hospital stay. Prior to your healthcare professionals determining that you are ready to consume solid foods, you will be on a clear, liquid diet for a few days. When you’re ready, you should begin doing lung exercises (incentive spirometry).

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