Pancreaticoduodenectomy is a surgical procedure that is often performed to treat masses that develop in the widest part (head) of the pancreas, where the majority of cancerous pancreatic tumors occur. A highly complex type of surgery, pancreaticoduodenectomy is also known as the Whipple procedure, so named for Dr. Allen Whipple, the renowned surgeon who pioneered the technique and first performed it in 1935.
At Moffitt Cancer Center in Tampa, FL, the fellowship-trained surgeons in our Gastrointestinal Oncology Program have highly refined skills and extensive experience in performing pancreaticoduodenectomy procedures and other intricate types of surgery. That’s because, as a high-volume cancer center, we have more opportunities to treat patients for pancreatic cancer than many other providers around the nation.
The surgeons at Moffitt perform two main types of pancreaticoduodenectomy:
- A standard pancreaticoduodenectomy – A surgeon removes the head of the pancreas, some nearby lymph nodes, the gallbladder, a portion of the duodenum and a small part of the stomach (pylorus). The surgeon then reconnects the pancreas, bile duct and stomach to the digestive tract in order to restore the flow of pancreatic digestive enzymes, bile and ingested food to the small intestine during digestion.
- A pylorus-preserving pancreaticoduodenectomy – A surgeon performs a conventional pancreaticoduodenectomy, but leaves the stomach intact.
In general, a pancreaticoduodenectomy may be appropriate to address a tumor in the head of the pancreas if the tumor has not spread to the liver, lungs, abdominal cavity or major blood vessels. The specific type of procedure recommended will depend on the precise location of the tumor and other individual factors. To make this determination, the multispecialty team at Moffitt will conduct an extensive evaluation, with any necessary testing completed at the same location.
As a National Cancer Institute-designed Comprehensive Cancer Center, Moffitt has received national acclaim for performing landmark research that has led to the discovery of many new surgical techniques and other treatment options for pancreatic cancer. Our goal is to make our breakthrough discoveries available to our patients as quickly as possible. To accomplish this, we maintain a robust portfolio of clinical trials, which allow many of our patients to be among the first in the nation to benefit from promising new treatments right here in Tampa, Florida.
If you’d like to consult with a gastrointestinal oncologist at Moffitt Cancer Center about a pancreaticoduodenectomy, or Whipple procedure, you do not need a referral. You can request an appointment at our campus in Tampa, FL, by calling 1-888-663-3488 or completing a new patient registration form online.