The Whipple procedure, also known as a pancreaticoduodenectomy, is a surgical procedure used to remove tumors in the head of the pancreas, as well as other neighboring organs.
The surgery involves several steps, including:
- Anesthesia: The patient is given general anesthesia to ensure they are asleep and pain-free during the procedure.
- Incision: The surgeon makes a large incision in the patient’s abdomen to access the pancreas and surrounding organs.
- Removal of the gallbladder: The gallbladder, which is located near the underside of the liver, is removed during the procedure.
- Removal of the head of the pancreas and duodenum: The surgeon carefully removes the head of the pancreas and the first portion of the small intestine called the duodenum.
- Reconnection of the pancreas: The remaining portion of the pancreas is reconnected to ensure proper digestive function.
- Reconstruction of the bile duct: The surgeon reconstructs the bile duct to ensure that bile can flow properly from the liver to the small intestine.
- Reconnection of the digestive system: The small intestine is then reconnected to the stomach to enable eating.
- Closure: The incision is then closed using sutures and a drain is placed to help monitor healing.
After the surgery, the patient will typically stay in the hospital for several days to recover and may need to follow a specific diet or take medications to manage pain or prevent complications. Recovery time can vary depending on the patient’s overall health and the complexity of the surgery.