The Whipple procedure is surgery to treat cancer of the pancreas – an abdominal organ behind your stomach. Your pancreas produces digestive enzymes and insulin hormones that control blood sugar.
Surgeons typically remove your gallbladder, bile duct, part of the duodenum (first part of small intestine), and all or part of the pancreas – depending on the tumor’s location. This surgery may prevent or slow the spread of cancer. It can eliminate or ease symptoms. Surgery can usually stop cancer from spreading if the tumor hasn’t grown outside the pancreas.
Your doctor assesses your condition and shares treatment options, risks and benefits. Tests may include imaging, lab work and endoscopy, which uses a scope to examine your gastrointestinal tract. Your doctor will treat any related conditions such as high blood pressure or diabetes.
Your care team provides customized details and helps you prepare. This surgery is performed in the hospital while you are under general anesthesia.
- Your surgeon cuts into your abdomen and removes part of the pancreas.
- Your surgeon then removes your gallbladder, bile duct and part of the duodenum.
- Depending on your condition, surgeons may remove your spleen or other parts of your pancreas and stomach.
Temple Health Expertise
At Temple Health, our specialists work together to manage a wide range of digestive, endocrine and other conditions, including cancer.
Our team has decades of experience in surgery, endocrinology and gastroenterology. We understand complex conditions and procedures requiring cross-disciplinary teamwork. Our highlights include:
- Leading doctors – “Top Doctors” and Best Doctors in America® rank Temple Health physicians among the region’s most outstanding healthcare providers.
- Innovative technologies – Surgeons use effective, technology-guided systems in fully equipped, state-of-the-art surgical suites. Specialized devices, 3D-HD views and ergonomic equipment enable highly specific angles and access.
- Top cancer center – Fox Chase Cancer Center is a National Cancer Institute (NCI)-designated Comprehensive Cancer Center. It’s one of only 51 centers in the nation to qualify for this highest level of designation.
- Acute-care hospital – Temple University Hospital (TUH) is one of the region's most respected academic medical centers. As Temple Health’s acute-care cornerstone, TUH provides exceptional cross-specialty care.