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What do I need to know about a pancreaticoduodenectomy?

Pancreaticoduodenectomy is surgery to remove a tumor from your pancreas or bile duct. It is also called a Whipple procedure.

Abdominal Organs

How do I prepare for surgery?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for surgery. He will tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your surgery. Ask your healthcare provider if you need to stop using medicine such as aspirin, ibuprofen, or blood thinners. Your healthcare provider will tell you what medicines to take or not take on the day of your surgery.

What will happen during surgery?

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.

What are the risks of surgery?

Surgery may damage 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.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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.

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Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.