Pancreatectomy is defined as partial or entire removal of the pancreas. In cases where the whole organ needs to be removed, the gallbladder and spleen may be removed in the process. Removing parts of the bile duct, small intestine, and stomach is also sometimes necessary.
When is pancreatectomy performed?
Pancreatectomy is commonly performed to help treat cancer, tumors, pancreatitis, and gallstones. Surgery is usually the best treatment option for patients with pancreatic cancer. Surgical correction is also the preferred treatment for tumors in the pancreas. For tumor removals pertaining to the pancreas, an early diagnosis is important. Those diagnosed at a later stage may be at a higher risk for surgery and not qualify.
Gallstones and chronic pancreatitis may also be treated with pancreatectomy. Chronic pancreatitis is extremely painful and can lead to irreversible damage to the organ. This condition can be caused by gallstones as well as alcohol consumption.
Risks Associated with Pancreas Surgery
- Excess Bleeding
- Bad Reaction to Anesthesia
- Pancreatic Anastomotic Leaking
- Delayed Gastric Emptying
- Preparing for the Procedure
Some of the tests conducted before surgery include; ultrasonography, radiographs, CT scan, angiography, and ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangeopancreatography). These tests will help your doctor determine a definite diagnosis as well as give your surgeon the opportunity to carefully plan the procedure.
Patients with pancreatic cancer may also undergo chemotherapy before the surgery. Chemotherapy can help shrink any tumors that may be present, decreasing the surgery risks and increasing the rate of success.
Patients are hospitalized for two to three weeks after the surgery is performed. Hospitalization allows doctors to closely monitor the patient’s recovery and provide them with the necessary treatment. Pain medications will be prescribed, as abdominal pain is commonly experienced following the surgery.
Check-ups are also required for monitoring purposes and to remove stitches, tubes, and other material placed during thr procedure. Pancreatic cancer patients may also have to undergo chemotherapy; studies have shown this additional treatment increases the chances of survival.
Pancreatectomy is a major surgical procedure that can potentially save a person’s life. Talk to your doctor about the different treatment options and ask if pancreatectomy is possible.
Bay Surgical Specialists can provide you with more information on the topic.