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Pancreatic Head Resection (Whipple Procedure)

Health Facts

Whipple Procedure

UW Health Liver and Pancreas Surgeons in Madison, Wisconsin are experts in the surgical management of pancreas disorders.

 

Pancreatic head resection is also known as a pancreaticoduodenectomy, or "Whipple" procedure.

 

About the Whipple Procedure

 

This procedure is performed for tumors located in the head of the pancreas that are malignant, though occasionally benign ones need to be removed as well. These tumors can start in the pancreas itself, the part of the bile duct which goes through the pancreas, or the wall of the bowel (the duodenum) adherent to the pancreas.

 

A pancreatic head resection entails removal of the head of the pancreas, the duodenum (the first piece of the small intestine), part of the bile duct (the pipe which drains bile from the liver into the bowel), the surrounding lymph nodes, the gallbladder, and sometimes part of the stomach.

 

This operation consists of two parts:

  • Removing all of the relevant structures in one piece
  • Reconnecting the necessary structure

Once the affected portions are removed, what remains of the bile duct, pancreas and stomach need to have drainage established. This is done by using a piece of intestine called the jejunum and making three separate openings into which the bile duct, the pancreatic duct, and the stomach can be drained.

 

Illustrations

 

UW Health Liver and Pancreas Program: Whipple surgery illustration 

General anatomy of pancreas and adjacent structures before the Whipple procedure

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UW Health Liver and Pancreas Program Whipple procedure diagram 

Detailed anatomy of pancreas and adjacent structures before Whipple (detailed)

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UW Health Liver and Pancreas Program Whipple procedure illustration 

Organs removed during standard Whipple

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UW Health Liver and Pancreas Program Whipple procedure illustrationOrgans removed during pyolorus-preserving Whipple procedure

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UW Health Liver and Pancreas Program Whipple procedure illustration 

Anatomy after the standard Whipple procedure

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UW Health Liver and Pancreas Program Whipple procedure illustration

Anatomy after pyolorus-preserving Whipple

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