As part of your pancreas is removed during a Whipple’s operation, your digestion will be affected. You will need pancreatic enzyme supplements to help you digest food. There is also a chance that you might get diabetes – this can happen at any time after your operation.
Pylorus-preserving pancreaticoduodenectomy (PPPD)
This operation is similar to the Whipple’s operation for pancreatic cancer, but none of the stomach is removed. The stomach valve (the pylorus), which controls the flow of food into the duodenum, isn’t removed either. The tail of the pancreas is joined to the small intestine or stomach.
Your digestion may be affected and you may need pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT) to help you digest food. There is also a risk of diabetes.
A distal pancreatectomy removes the body and tail of the pancreas.
The spleen is also often removed. The spleen helps your body fight infections, so if it’s removed, you will be more likely to get infections. You will usually have vaccinations before and after surgery to help prevent some infections. You will also need to take antibiotics for the rest of your life to protect you against other infections. Ask your surgical team about what vaccinations you need now and in the future.
As part of your pancreas is removed, your digestion may also be affected. You may need pancreatic enzyme replacement therapy (PERT) to help you to digest food, but this is less likely than with the Whipple’s or PPPD operations.
You will also be more likely to get diabetes and may need to take medicine to manage this. This can include insulin.
Diagram showing the parts of the body to be removed by a distal pancreatectomy