Whipple Surgery – Overview

Tumours and other problems of the pancreas, intestine, and bile duct are treated with the Whipple procedure, also known as a pancreaticoduodenectomy. It is the most common surgery for treating pancreatic cancer that has spread to the head of pancreas. Your pancreatic cancer doctor reconnects the remaining organs after the Whipple procedure, allowing you to digest meals normally after surgery. Whipple surgery is a tough and demanding procedure that comes with a few risks. However, this procedure can save a person’s life, especially if he/she has cancer.

Why is it done

People whose pancreas is damaged or weakened by cancer or another illness may benefit from a Whipple procedure. The pancreas is a critical organ located behind your stomach. It collaborates closely with the liver and bile ducts, producing enzymes that aid digestion, particularly lipids and proteins. The pancreas also produces hormones that aid in blood sugar control. A Whipple surgery may be recommended by your doctor to treat:
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Cysts in the pancreas
  • Tumours of the pancreas
  • Pancreatitis
A Whipple treatment for cancer aims to remove the tumour while also preventing it from developing and spreading to other organs, says Dr. Purnendu Bhowmik, who is regarded as the best pancreatic cancer doctor. This is the only treatment modality that can reduce these tumours and malignancies, helping you to live longer and be cured.

How should you prepare

Your surgeon will consider a number of criteria when deciding which surgical method is ideal for you. He or she will also check your health and make sure you’re in good enough shape for a major procedure. A Whipple surgery may be done in different ways, including the laparoscopic, open, and robotic surgical method.

Laparoscopic Whipple Surgery for Pancreatic Cancer

The surgeon creates many small cuts in your stomach and inserts special instruments, including a camera that transmits footage to a monitor in the operating room. The surgeon uses the monitor to direct the surgical tools and perform the laparoscopic Whipple surgery, which is a type of minimally invasive surgery. For individuals who do not experience any complications, minimally invasive surgery has some advantages, such as less blood loss and a faster recovery. However, it takes longer, which can be exhausting for the body. Before your Whipple surgery, your pancreas specialist doctor will elaborate on what to expect before, during, and after the procedure, as well as any potential risks. Your healthcare team will discuss how your surgery will influence your quality of life with you and your family. Radiation therapy, chemotherapy, or both are sometimes used before or after the Whipple procedure for cancer. Before or after your surgery, discuss any concerns you may have about your surgery and other treatment choices with your doctor.


The possibilities of long-term survival following a Whipple procedure are determined by the patient’s specific circumstances. The Whipple technique is the only known cure for most pancreatic tumours and malignancies, says the pancreatic cancer surgeon.