We are independent & ad-supported. We may earn a commission for purchases made through our links.
Advertiser Disclosure
Our website is an independent, advertising-supported platform. We provide our content free of charge to our readers, and to keep it that way, we rely on revenue generated through advertisements and affiliate partnerships. This means that when you click on certain links on our site and make a purchase, we may earn a commission. Learn more.
How We Make Money
We sustain our operations through affiliate commissions and advertising. If you click on an affiliate link and make a purchase, we may receive a commission from the merchant at no additional cost to you. We also display advertisements on our website, which help generate revenue to support our work and keep our content free for readers. Our editorial team operates independently of our advertising and affiliate partnerships to ensure that our content remains unbiased and focused on providing you with the best information and recommendations based on thorough research and honest evaluations. To remain transparent, we’ve provided a list of our current affiliate partners here.

What is a Pancreatectomy?

Tricia Christensen
By
Updated Mar 03, 2024
Our promise to you
The Health Board is dedicated to creating trustworthy, high-quality content that always prioritizes transparency, integrity, and inclusivity above all else. Our ensure that our content creation and review process includes rigorous fact-checking, evidence-based, and continual updates to ensure accuracy and reliability.

Our Promise to you

Founded in 2002, our company has been a trusted resource for readers seeking informative and engaging content. Our dedication to quality remains unwavering—and will never change. We follow a strict editorial policy, ensuring that our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts. This guarantees that everything we publish is objective, accurate, and trustworthy.

Over the years, we've refined our approach to cover a wide range of topics, providing readers with reliable and practical advice to enhance their knowledge and skills. That's why millions of readers turn to us each year. Join us in celebrating the joy of learning, guided by standards you can trust.

Editorial Standards

At The Health Board, we are committed to creating content that you can trust. Our editorial process is designed to ensure that every piece of content we publish is accurate, reliable, and informative.

Our team of experienced writers and editors follows a strict set of guidelines to ensure the highest quality content. We conduct thorough research, fact-check all information, and rely on credible sources to back up our claims. Our content is reviewed by subject-matter experts to ensure accuracy and clarity.

We believe in transparency and maintain editorial independence from our advertisers. Our team does not receive direct compensation from advertisers, allowing us to create unbiased content that prioritizes your interests.

Pancreatectomy is removal by surgery of part or all of the pancreas, and often other organs that may be attached to it. The most common indications for this surgery are pancreatic cancer or recurrent bouts of severe pancreatitis. It is a difficult surgery that has long reaching complications, but it may be the only means by which certain conditions can be addressed or possibly cured.

The pancreas has several important functions. It makes enzymes that help to digest food and it also creates insulin, which is vital to regulating blood sugar levels. Diseases of the pancreas, including cancer, may affect function. Still, removal of this important part of the body has to be weighed against the side effects it will cause. People will need enzyme and insulin support if the full pancreas is removed. It isn’t always fully removed and many people undergo a partial pancreatectomy.

When pancreatectomy is performed, frequently other parts of organs may need to be removed too. These include the duodenum, spleen, parts of the intestine or stomach, and possibly the bile duct or the full gall bladder. Many pancreatectomies are part of a complicated surgery called the Whipple procedure, which reroutes the intestines after a variety of ducts or organs are at least partially removed.

As mentioned, full or partial pancreatic removal is typically only desirable when there remains little choice for other treatments. Even in situations where something like cancer is present, partial removal of the pancreas is often chosen over full pancreatectomy due to potential for side effects. On the other hand, occasionally the only chance for survival is to take out the entire organ, and even with this decision, survival rates for pancreatic cancer are not as favorable as could be hoped. Early treatment is associated with higher and lengthier survival rates, though, and aggressive treatment after early diagnosis can be preferred.

From the patient perspective, pancreatectomy is a very serious surgery that will take recovery time. Hospital stays of several weeks are expected after pancreas removal. Discomfort directly after surgery can be significant, though work with doctors can be useful to reduce this through pain medication. People may also need to take medicines that help with food digestion and insulin control.

Depending on medical condition prior to surgery, it may take a while to reestablish normal activities and those without a pancreas will need consistent medical follow-up. They usually work with gastroenterologists, but other specialists might be involved if the surgery was performed to treat cancer. In fact, if this is an initial treatment for cancer, it could be immediately followed by other treatments like chemotherapy.

The Health Board is dedicated to providing accurate and trustworthy information. We carefully select reputable sources and employ a rigorous fact-checking process to maintain the highest standards. To learn more about our commitment to accuracy, read our editorial process.
Tricia Christensen
By Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia Christensen is based in Northern California and brings a wealth of knowledge and passion to her writing. Her wide-ranging interests include reading, writing, medicine, art, film, history, politics, ethics, and religion, all of which she incorporates into her informative articles. Tricia is currently working on her first novel.
Discussion Comments
Tricia Christensen
Tricia Christensen
With a Literature degree from Sonoma State University and years of experience as a The Health Board contributor, Tricia...
Learn more
The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.

The Health Board, in your inbox

Our latest articles, guides, and more, delivered daily.