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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.
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