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Benefits and risks of bypass surgery

The benefits and risks of bypass surgery for pancreatic cancer can depend on your cancer and your general health. Discuss these with your doctor before you have this surgery. 


  • The surgery bypasses the blockage, and should relieve your symptoms.
  • It may be an option if a stent is not suitable for you. 


  • You may have some side effects, but there are usually ways to manage these.
  • You may need to stay in hospital for a few days after bypass surgery, and it may take a few months to fully recover from this type of surgery. 
  • There is a risk of your wound getting infected – you will be given antibiotics to reduce this risk.
  • With all surgery there is a risk that you may have some bleeding during the operation, and will need a blood transfusion (replacing blood lost during surgery). This is not very common and will be done during the operation. 
  • There are risks to having a general anaesthetic, such as having an allergic reaction to the anaesthetic. But these are very rare.

Bypass surgery for a blocked bile duct 

Bypass surgery for a blocked duodenum 

Recovering from bypass surgery 

Side effects from bypass surgery 

Published February 2017

Review date February 2019

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