A total pancreatectomy procedure involves the complete removal of the pancreas. Similar to the Whipple procedure, total pancreatectomy surgery also entails the removal of local lymph nodes as well as a portion of the stomach, duodenum, gallbladder and possibly the spleen. To ensure that food and bile will continue to flow properly into the small intestine, a surgeon will reconnect the remaining portion of the stomach and common bile duct to the middle portion of the small intestine (jejunum).
Total pancreatectomy surgery may be recommended if:
- Multiple pancreatic tumors are present
- Cancerous cells have invaded most of the pancreatic tissue
- Treatment is needed for a precancerous condition, such as intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasm of the pancreas (IPMN), to prevent the development of pancreatic cancer
The pancreas produces two main hormones, insulin and glucagon, to help regulate the body’s blood sugar levels. When the pancreas is removed, a patient will develop diabetes, which means the patient will be required to take insulin to keep his or her blood sugar levels at safe levels and to test those levels regularly. Additionally, because the pancreas produces essential enzymes to aid in the digestion of fat, a patient will have to take enzyme replacement medication following a total pancreatectomy procedure.
Moffitt Cancer Center’s Gastrointestinal Oncology Program provides our patients with an enhanced quality of life. As a high-volume cancer center, Moffitt has extensive experience in all aspects of pancreatic cancer treatment. In addition to outstanding surgeons and oncologists, our multispecialty team of pancreatic cancer experts includes experienced endocrinologists who specialize in treating diabetes and other conditions of the endocrine system. After a patient undergoes a total pancreatectomy procedure, these compassionate professionals will be available to provide education and guidance to help the patient manage the resulting insulin-dependent diabetes.
If you have questions about total pancreatectomy surgery, the experts at Moffitt can provide the answers you need. Call 1-888-MOFFITT or complete a new patient registration form online. We see patients with and without referrals.