Whipple surgery, also known as pancreatoduodenectomy, is often recommended to treat pancreatic cancer. This complex procedure is designed to remove parts of the pancreas, as well as any nearby tissues or organs that are affected by cancer, such as the gall bladder, bile duct, duodenum, small intestine or stomach. After performing Whipple surgery, a surgeon will reattach the remaining components of the digestive system in order to allow the body to digest food and expel waste normally.
In addition to treating both benign and malignant tumors that develop in the head of the pancreas, Whipple surgery may be recommended to treat:
- Cancer of the duodenum (first part of the small intestine)
- Cancer of the bile duct (cholangiocarcinoma)
- Cancer of the ampulla (the area where the bile duct and the and pancreatic duct enter the duodenum)
- Chronic pancreatitis
Because Whipple surgery is both difficult and demanding, it is best performed by a surgeon who has highly refined skills. In fact; recent research studies confirm that Whipple surgery outcomes are largely dependent on the experience level of the treating surgeon. Because a surgeon’s skills are further honed with each Whipple procedure performed, the American Cancer Society has recommended that patients seek treatment at high-volume cancer centers, where surgeons complete these complex procedures on a regular basis.
Moffitt Cancer Center treats many patients with pancreatic tumors – often with surgery as a cornerstone of treatment. Through our extensive research efforts, Moffitt has also earned national recognition as a leader in the prevention, diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic and all other forms of cancer. For these reasons and more, Moffitt is able to offer a level of surgical expertise that far exceeds that of most other cancer centers. Our multispecialty team of experts ensures that each patient receives the most appropriate and beneficial treatment; depending on a patient’s individual circumstances, this might include Whipple surgery, participation in a clinical trial or another advanced treatment option.
If you’d like to learn more about Whipple surgery, you can meet with the pancreatic cancer experts at Moffitt with or without a referral. Call 1-888-MOFFITT or complete a new patient registration form online.