The Whipple procedure, or pancreatoduodenectomy, is an invasive surgery that involves removal of the gallbladder, the common bile duct, portions of the duodenum and stomach, and the head of the pancreas. The procedure is most commonly used to treat pancreatic cancer.
The Whipple procedure is used to treat cancers of the digestive system, including pancreatic cancer and small bowel cancer. The procedure is a viable alternative to radiation treatment and chemotherapy.
On average, patients leave the hospital 14 days after the surgery. Recovery time varies, with many patients reporting a return of energy and digestion between three months and a year after a successful surgery.
The pancreas is responsible for helping the body store energy and creating digestive enzymes to break down food. After the surgery, sugary fruits, fatty foods and dairy foods become difficult to process. Eating many small meals a day helps to overcome this issue.
The Whipple procedure gets its name from its creator, Dr. Allen Oldfather Whipple, who first performed the technique in 1935.
Both Steve Jobs and Patrick Swayze benefited from the Whipple procedure.