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A 35-year-old member asked:

what is life like after whipple procedure ?

5 doctor answers18 doctors weighed in
Dr. Christopher Oxner
Surgical Oncology 18 years experience
Eventually normal: Recovery is slow and can be even slower with complications. Patients who are not diabetic and have normal pancreatic functions maintain normal function postoperatively most of the time. Patients will initially have poor appeptite and lose weight but eventually return to eating a normal diet. Recovery can also be delayed if patients require chemo &/or radiation.
Dr. Cosme Manzarbeitia
General Surgery 39 years experience
Well put. However, whipple is frequently performed for malignancy, and recurrence is more common than not. So the above applies in general in the absence of tumor recurrence
Aug 9, 2012
Dr. Eric Whitman
Surgical Oncology 36 years experience
Long recovery: A whipple procedure is a very major abdominal operation. Provided there are no postoperative complications, it can take weeks or months to start to feel more normal. Other long term effects can relate to exactly how the surgery was done, how the intestines are reconstructed, etc.
Dr. Buck Parker
General Surgery 17 years experience
Can be difficult: Not for everyone, but the whipple procedure has a 40% morbidity rate. That means 40% of people have a major complication such as pneumonia, abscess, wound infections and most notably delayed gastric emptying. However, unfortunately if you aor someone you know is in need of a whipple the alternative is not attractive either.
Dr. Carlo Contreras
A Verified Doctor commented
A US doctor answered Learn more
While it's true that this is a major operation with very real complications, different risk factors have different risk factors. Some patients are excellent candidates for this operation and others will have a much tougher time recovering. Don't let the statistics scare you away from at least talking about the option with a reputable Surgical Oncologist who routinely does this type of operation. If you are looking for a list of surgeons who specialize in this operation, visit either http://www.surgonc.org/doctor-search.aspx or http://www.nccn.org/members/network.asp.
Sep 12, 2012
Dr. Gerard Aranha
Surgical Oncology 52 years experience
Most often normal: Some patients may have to take enzymes for digestion and others but only a few will become diabetic especially if they have diabetes in the family.
Dr. Benjamin Kim
General Surgery 43 years experience
Improved: After recovery from surgery, life should be back to normal but may require, in some patients, supplementation with pancreatic digestive enzymes and/or Insulin for diabetes. Some patients will need to eat smaller amounts at meals ( depending upon how much stomach is removed). The underlying reason for the procedure will determine long term outcome- e.g. Pancreatic cancer vs. Benign disease.

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Similar questions

A 34-year-old member asked:

What happens during a whipple procedure? Why is it done?

5 doctor answers10 doctors weighed in
Dr. Pedro Hernandez
Geriatrics 40 years experience
Pancreatic surgery: Whipple procedure is to make secretions from the pancreas drain into the digestive tract by surgery. When there is disease in the pancreas ( tumors benign or malignant, strictures, stones etc. )or nearby structures that blocks the pancreatic ducts this fluid full of secretions like Insulin and glucagon and pancreatic enzymes to digest fat cannot come out should come out.
A member asked:

Is the pancreaticoduodenectomy a risky thing to do?

2 doctor answers5 doctors weighed in
Dr. Arthur Heller
Gastroenterology 43 years experience
Major surgery: "whipple procedure" is major reworking of the plumbing, generally done to treat tumors of head of pancreas, neighboring ampulla of vater (entryway of panc and bile duct into small bowel). This shold be done by a surgeon who does "a lot" of these, in a place where they do "a lot" of these- often a cancer referral center. Can be a lot of perioperative, postoperative complications, longterm problems.
A 41-year-old member asked:

Familiar with the whipple procedure pancreaticoduodenectomy?

3 doctor answers11 doctors weighed in
Dr. Steven Ginsberg
Hematology and Oncology 37 years experience
Yes: This procedure is most commonly done in an attempt to cure pancreatic cancer.
A 45-year-old member asked:

What are long term whipple procedure complications?

3 doctor answers9 doctors weighed in
Dr. Mark Hoepfner
General Surgery 39 years experience
Depends: It depends somewhat on why the surgery was performed. If the pancreas surgery was for cancer, the long term risks are cancer recurrence. If the surgery was for pain from chronic pancreatitis, the long term risk is pain recurrence. Other risks are diabetes, fatty food intolerance, nutritional or dietary changes.
A 38-year-old member asked:

What is the "whipple procedure"?

4 doctor answers10 doctors weighed in
Dr. Peter Denk
General Surgery 20 years experience
Pancreaticoduodenect: Pancreaticoduodenectomy. It's a procedure that removes the head of the pancreas, the duodenum and part of the bile duct. It's performed for problems with the pancreas, bile duct, the duodenum, or rarely for severe trauma to those organs. Most commonly it's done for pancreas masses, cysts, or cancer. It requires 3 re-connections of the bile duct, the pancreatic duct, and the stomach and intestine.

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Last updated Nov 19, 2019

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