Whipple Procedure

A Whipple procedure is complex surgery to remove part of the pancreas along with the:

  • Call Your Doctor

    Call your doctor if any of these occur:

    • Signs of infection, such as fever or chills
    • Redness, swelling, increasing pain, bleeding, or discharge from the incision
    • Pain that is not controlled with the medications you have been given
    • New or worsening:
      • Diarrhea
      • Weigh loss
      • Nausea and/or vomiting
    • Symptoms of diabetes, which may include:
      • Frequent urination
      • Excessive thirst
      • Increased hunger
      • Slow wound healing

    If you think you have an emergency, call for medical help right away.

  • Definition

    A Whipple procedure is complex surgery to remove part of the pancreas along with the:

    • Gallbladder and common bile duct
    • Top part of the small intestine called the duodenum
    • Portion of the stomach called the pylorus—When the pylorus is not removed, the procedure is known as a pylorus-preserving Whipple procedure.
    • Surrounding lymph nodes
    The Pancreas
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  • What to Expect

  • Reasons for Procedure

    You may have this surgery to treat
    cancer of the pancreas, duodenum, or lower part of the bile duct. It may also be done to treat people with long-term inflammation of the pancreas.

  • Possible Complications

    Problems from the procedure are rare, but all procedures have some risk. Your doctor will review potential problems, like:

    • Long-term difficulty with digestion
    • Chronic abdominal pain
    • Chronic need for pancreatic enzyme supplementation
    • Diabetes

    Complications that occur as a result of surgery may include:

    • Leaking from connections made in the intestines
    • Damage to other organs
    • Bleeding
    • Infection
    • Reaction to anesthesia
    • Blood clots

    Before your procedure, talk to your doctor about ways to manage factors that may increase your risk of complications such as:

    • Smoking
    • Drinking
    • Chronic diseases, such as diabetes or obesity