Surgical Procedures for Pancreatic Cancer
- Bleeding—This can be massive, requiring a return trip to the operating room to locate the source of bleeding and stop it.
- Delayed stomach emptying—About 19% of patients who have had pancreatectomy will experience this complication. This involves liquids and solids remaining in the stomach for an abnormally long period of time after eating or drinking. Patients with this complication may need to be fed using alternative methods (such as through a tube directly into their intestines) until their stomach heals.
- Pancreatic anastomotic leak—This complication occurs when pancreatic juices leak into the abdomen. Most surgeons try to avoid this complication by leaving drains in place; any fluids that accumulate around the area where the pancreas was removed are drained out of the abdomen through tubes.
- You’ll wake up with a catheter in your bladder; if there are no complications, this will be removed within a few days.
- You’re likely to wake up with a nasogastric tube. This is a tube that enters through your nose and reaches into your stomach to drain accumulating digestive juices.
- You may also have several surgical drains, which are tubes that drain fluids out of your abdomen.
- Until your intestine begins functioning again, you’ll be given nutrition through a tube directly into your intestine, or through your veins. When nutrition is delivered directly into your veins, it is called total parenteral nutrition (TPN).
- Because you no longer have all of your pancreas, you may become diabetic after surgery. This means that you’ll need to check your blood sugar several times a day, and you will probably need to take insulin.
- You may need to take enzyme pills to help you digest your food.
- You may require antibiotics.
- You may be given medications to prevent blood clots (blood thinners).
- You’ll require regular pain medications.
Pancreaticoduodenectomy (Whipple procedure)
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- Reviewer: Mohei Abouzied, MD, FACP
- Review Date: 09/2014 -
- Update Date: 09/17/2014 -
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