Pancreaticoduodenectomy, also known as the Whipple procedure, is the most common form of surgery used to treat pancreatic cancer. Named for Dr. Allen Whipple, the surgeon who pioneered the technique, the Whipple procedure is often recommended to treat tumors located in the head of the pancreas, where most pancreatic cancer tumors develop.

There are two main types of pancreaticoduodenectomy:

  • Conventional pancreaticoduodenectomy – A surgeon removes the head of the pancreas, the duodenum, and a portion of the stomach, as well as the gallbladder and a portion of the bile duct. To complete the procedure, the surgeon will reconnect the remaining stomach, pancreas and bile duct to the digestive tract to reinstate the flow of ingested food, digestive enzymes and bile.
  • Pylorus-sparing pancreaticoduodenectomy – This procedure differs from a conventional Whipple procedure in that the stomach is left intact.

The type of pancreaticoduodenectomy recommended for a patient will depend on the location of the tumor within the pancreas. The goal of surgery is to remove the tumor and any affected tissue while safely preserving as much of the pancreas and other organs as possible.

Pancreatic cancer is relatively uncommon. Therefore, a patient is encouraged to seek treatment from a high-volume, specialty cancer center like Moffitt Cancer Center. At Moffitt, the multispecialty team of cancer experts in our Gastrointestinal Oncology Program treats many patients with pancreatic cancer and our surgeons perform many pancreaticoduodenectomy procedures. Our extensive experience has led to a highly refined skill set and knowledge base for our oncologists, and we are able to offer a broader range of treatment options than most other cancer centers. Through our comprehensive, evidence-based approach to pancreatic cancer treatment, we collaboratively enhance each patient’s quality of life.

If you’d like to learn more about pancreaticoduodenectomy surgery and other forms of treatment for pancreatic cancer, the experts at Moffitt can review your options with you. Call 1-888-663-3488 or complete a new patient registration form online. We see patients with and without referrals.