Pancreatic surgery is done to treat cancer of the pancreas gland.
The pancreas is located behind the stomach, between the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine) and the spleen, and in front of the spine. It helps in food digestion.
The pancreas has three parts called the head (the wider end), middle, and tail. All or part of the pancreas is removed depending on the location of the cancer tumor.
Whether the procedure is performed laparoscopically (using a tiny video camera) or using robotic surgery depends on:
• The extent of the surgery
• The experience and number of surgeries your surgeon has performed
• The experience and number of surgeries performed at the hospital you are going to use
The surgery is done in the hospital with general anesthesia so you are asleep and pain free.
The following types of surgeries are used in the surgical treatment of pancreatic cancer.
This is the most common surgery for pancreatic cancer.
• A cut is made in your belly and the head of the pancreas is removed.
• The gallbladder, bile duct, and part of the duodenum (first part of the small intestine) are also taken out. Sometimes, part of the stomach is removed.
Distal pancreatectomy and splenectomy
This surgery is used more often for tumors in the middle and tail of the pancreas.
• The middle and the tail of the pancreas are removed.
• The spleen may also be removed.
This surgery is not done very often. There is little benefit of taking out the whole pancreas if the cancer can be treated by removing only part of the gland.
• A cut is made in your belly and the whole pancreas is removed.
• The gallbladder, spleen, part of the duodenum, and nearby lymph nodes are also removed.
Sometimes, part of the stomach is removed.
Your doctor may recommend a surgical procedure to treat cancer of the pancreas.
Surgery can stop the spread of cancer if the tumor has not grown outside the pancreas.