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What you should know
Pancreaticoduodenectomy is surgery to remove a tumor from your pancreas or bile duct. It is also called a Whipple procedure.
Care AgreementYou have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.
Surgery may damage to your pancreas, stomach, small intestines, and other organs, blood vessels, or nerves. It may increase your risk for bleeding or an infection. Bile and other digestive juices may leak into your abdomen. You may have difficulty absorbing food and nutrients after your surgery. A fistula (abnormal connection between organs) may form or you may develop diabetes. Even after surgery, the tumor may spread. You may get a blood clot in your arm or leg. This may become life-threatening.
The week before your surgery:
- Write down the correct date, time, and location of your surgery.
- Arrange a ride home. Ask a family member or friend to drive you home after your surgery or procedure. Do not drive yourself home.
- Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
- Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
- You may need blood or urine tests before your surgery. You may also need an x-ray, ultrasound, CT scan, or MRI of your abdomen. Talk to your healthcare provider about these or other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
The night before your surgery:
- You may be given medicine to help you sleep.
- Ask caregivers about directions for eating and drinking.
- You may need an enema the night before your surgery. This is liquid put into your rectum to help empty your bowel.
The day of your surgery:
- Ask your caregiver before you take any medicine on the day of your surgery. Bring a list of all the medicines you take, or your pill bottles, with you to the hospital. Caregivers will check that your medicines will not interact poorly with the medicine you need for surgery.
- Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
- An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.
What will happen:
Your healthcare provider will make an incision in your abdomen. He will remove the parts of your pancreas, bile duct, and intestines that contain the tumor. He will then reconnect your stomach, pancreas, bile duct, and intestines. He may insert a feeding tube into your intestines, and another tube to drain fluid. Your incision will be closed with stitches or surgical tape and covered with bandages.
After your surgery:
You will be taken to a room to rest until you are fully awake. You will be monitored closely for any problems. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. You will then be taken to your hospital room.
Contact a caregiver if
- You cannot make it to your surgery on time.
- You have a fever.
- You have questions or concerns about your procedure.
Seek Care Immediately if
- You have nausea or are vomiting.
- You have sudden, severe abdominal pain.
- You have shortness of breath.
- You have trouble seeing, speaking, or thinking clearly.
- You feel lightheaded, faint, or have a seizure.
- Your jaundice gets worse.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.