How does pancreatectomy treat chronic pancreatitis?

The singular goal of total pancreatectomy (removal of the pancreas) for patients with chronic pancreatitis is to relieve pain.

Because the pancreas produces digestive enzymes and hormones including insulin, this surgery is reserved only for those in whom pain is so severe and unremitting that it has led to dependence on narcotic medications. After pancreatectomy, pain is relieved in 93% of cases, but the absence of insulin production leaves patients diabetic requiring insulin.

Continue Learning about Pancreatitis

Pancreatitis

A disease of the endocrine system, pancreatitis can cause severe abdominal pain, fever and nausea and vomiting.Pancreatitis develops when the digestive juices that your pancreas makes actually begins to break down the organ itself...

. This disease, which can either be acute (short-term) or chronic (long-term), can cause internal bleeding, infection, tissue scarring and organ failure. Chronic pancreatitis actually causes the pancreas to slowly destroy itself. Gallstones that block the pancreatic duct, a tube that connects the pancreas to part of the small intestine, can cause acute pancreatitis. However, heavy alcohol use is a primary cause of both acute and chronic pancreatitis. Several days in the hospital can help resolve acute pancreatitis, but chronic pancreatitis can be much more difficult to treat, especially if the patient is an alcoholic. The surgical removal of certain nerves may be needed to relieve the severe abdominal pain associated with chronic pancreatitis.
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Important: This content reflects information from various individuals and organizations and may offer alternative or opposing points of view. It should not be used for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. As always, you should consult with your healthcare provider about your specific health needs.