Pancreas Treatments

Whipple Procedure

Also called a pancreaticoduodenectomy, this major surgical operation is performed to treat cancers of the head of the pancreas, the distal bile duct and the duodenum, as well as pancreatitis.

The surgery is performed in two stages. The first stage is the removal of the gallbladder (if present), the common bile duct, the duodenum (and sometimes the lower third of the stomach) and the head of the pancreas. The second stage is the reconstruction, which reestablishes the continuity of the gastrointestinal tract.

A study of the Whipple procedure in The New England Journal of Medicine found operative mortality rates to be four times higher at low-volume hospitals (16%) than at high-volume hospitals (3.8%). In 2013, surgeons at Emory performed more than 160 Whipple procedures.

Emory's expertise and high volume directly translate into a safer procedure and longer survival. We have developed a clinical pathway to ensure that patients receive best-practice care from the moment they enter the hospital. When circumstances allow, our surgeons operate through a relatively small incision, preserve a large portion of the stomach and discharge patients home approximately 10 days after surgery on average. When circumstances allow, our surgeons operate through a relatively small incision, preserve a large portion of the stomach and discharge patients home approximately 10 days after surgery on average. Learn More - Watch the Video >>

Patient Advantages

• Emory performs a large number of Whipple procedures every year.

• For patients with pancreatic cancer of the head of the gland, this procedure is the only option for a cure.

• Emory surgeons employ smaller incisions than are traditionally used.

• Emory has developed a clinical pathway to ensure that patients are cared for to best standards following surgery. Most patients leave the hospital seven to eight days after the operation.

Read one patient's experience with the Whipple procedure at Emory.

Pancreas Conditions