What are the types of surgery for pancreatic cancer?

With the Whipple procedure, surgeons remove the head and sometimes the body of the pancreas, the lower portion of the stomach, the duodenum, and lymph nodes near the pancreas. Surgeons also remove the gallbladder and part of the common bile duct, and connect the remaining bile duct to the small intestine so that bile can enter the small intestine from the liver.

For patients in whom the cancer has spread beyond the pancreas, other laparoscopic techniques are employed. Laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy is performed on patients with neuroendocrine pancreatic tumors and cysts. In this procedure, we remove the body and tail of the pancreas while preserving the spleen.

Removing the tail was once considered too challenging due to its proximity to the splenic artery and vein. However, our surgeons have perfected the technique involved and now commonly perform spleen-preserving distal pancreatectomy with less blood loss, shorter hospital stays, and lower leak rates than patients operated on in open procedures.

Central pancreatectomy may be performed to eliminate a cancer in the pancreas' body or neck without removing the healthy tail of the organ, enabling the patient to retain a functioning pancreatic head and tail and their respective functions.

Total pancreatectomy surgery involves removing all or part of the pancreas, part of the stomach and small intestine, the common bile duct, gallbladder, spleen, and neighboring lymph nodes.

The two types of pancreatic surgeries are a whipple operation and a distal pancreatectomy.

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