An incision will be made in the abdomen. The affected part of the pancreas, as well as other affected areas, will be removed. The incision will be closed with stitches or staples.
Tubes may be placed that come out of the abdomen. A tube will drain fluid from the surgery site.
If only a part of the pancreas needs to be removed, your doctor may do the surgery laparoscopically. Small incisions will be made and a camera will be inserted. This will help the doctor see inside the abdomen to remove the affected part of the pancreas.
How Long Will It Take?
The surgery can take 4-8 hours, depending on what part or how much of the pancreas is removed.
How Much Will It Hurt?
Anesthesia will block pain during the procedure. You will have pain after the procedure. Ask your doctor about medication to help manage pain.
Average Hospital Stay
You may need to stay in the hospital from 5 days to 3 weeks. This depends on the extent of your surgery. If you have any problems, you will need to stay longer.
At the Hospital
Right after the procedure, you will be in a recovery room where your blood pressure, pulse, and breathing will be monitored. Recovery may also include:
Medication to prevent blood clots
Insulin to control your blood sugar
You will be encouraged to be mobile as soon as possible. This start as soon as the first day after your surgery.
During your stay, the hospital staff will take steps to reduce your chance of infection such as:
Washing their hands
Wearing gloves or masks
Keeping your incisions covered
There are also steps you can take to reduce your chances of infection such as:
Washing your hands often and reminding visitors and healthcare providers to do the same
Reminding your healthcare providers to wear gloves or masks
Not allowing others to touch your incisions
Depending on how much of your pancreas was taken, it may not make adequate amounts of enzymes for your body. If this is the case, your doctor may recommend a special diet, supplements, or other medications.
Call Your Doctor
Call your doctor if any of these occur:
Signs of infection, including fever or chills
Redness, swelling, increasing pain, bleeding, or discharge from the incision
Pain that you cannot control with the medications you were given
Persistent nausea or vomiting
New or worsening diarrhea—this may indicate you are not digesting enzymes properly
If you have symptoms of diabetes, call your doctor. You may need to have your insulin dose adjusted. Symptoms include:
Difficulty controlling urination
Increased urination at night
New or worsening fatigue
If you think you have an emergency, call for emergency medical services right away.
Surgical techniques for pancreas preservation. University of Southern California Center for Pancreatic and Biliary Diseases website. Available at: http://www.surgery.usc.edu/divisions/tumor/pancreasdiseases/web%20pages/pancreas%20resection/ORGAN%20PRESERVATION.html. Accessed December 21, 2017.
Surgery. Pancreatic Cancer Action Network website. Available at: https://www.pancan.org/facing-pancreatic-cancer/treatment/surgery. Accessed December 21, 2017.
Surgery for pancreatic cancer. American Cancer Society website. Available at: https://www.cancer.org/cancer/pancreatic-cancer/treating/surgery.html. Updated May 31, 2016. Accessed December 21, 2017.
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