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Whipple Surgery for Pancreatic Cancer

Whipple Surgery for Pancreatic Cancer and Disease at Methodist Dallas

What is the Whipple procedure?

The Whipple procedure, also known as a pancreaticoduodenectomy, is an operation most often performed to remove a growth from the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine), the bile duct, or the head of the pancreas. Whipple surgery is also done to treat pancreatic cysts in the head of the pancreas, chronic pancreatitis or strictures in the pancreatic duct or bile duct.

A Whipple operation consists of removing the gallbladder, part of the bile duct, the duodenum, and the head of the pancreas and sometimes the lower portion of the stomach. Whipple surgery generally takes three to five hours to complete. You may or may not require a blood transfusion during the surgery.

Depending on the reason for the Whipple procedure and exact location of the problem, this surgery can be performed laparoscopically (with cameras and several small punctures), robotically-assisted, or as open surgery using a larger incision. Your care team will let you know which type is planned for you.

Robotic Whipple for Pancreatic Cancer

Methodist Dallas Medical Center was among the first hospitals in the country to offer advanced minimally invasive, fully robotic Whipple surgery, also known as pancreaticoduodenectomy.

When the Whipple procedure is performed with the aid of a robot, patients benefit from five small incisions rather than one large incision.

Potential benefits of the robotic Whipple surgery versus traditional open Whipple surgery include:

  • Less pain
  • Less blood loss
  • Fewer complications
  • Less scarring
  • A shorter hospital stay
  • Faster healing, which enables patients to begin chemotherapy and radiation treatment more quickly
  • Improved visualization with 3-dimensional imaging

Learn more about the fully robotic Whipple surgery performed by surgeons on the medical staff at Methodist Dallas Medical Center.

A national epicenter for innovative, progressive care of pancreatic cancer

In September 2014, Dr. Alejandro Mejia, a transplant and hepatopancreatobiliary surgeon at Methodist Health System, was designated as an epicenter surgeon by Intuitive Surgical (Intuitive is the maker of the da Vinci® robotic surgical system). This is the first hepatobiliary-focused general surgery robotic epicenter designated by Intuitive Surgical.

The epicenter designation recognizes Methodist Dallas’ quality outcomes, compassionate care, and leadership in advanced treatment options for liver cancer, pancreatic cancer, and other diseases of the liver, pancreas, and gastrointestinal tract. The epicenter draws surgeons from across the country and around the world to learn about these advanced treatments from our experts.

Whipple surgery patient guide

Download the Patient's Guide - Enhanced Recovery After Surgery (ERAS) for Pancreatic Cancer to learn more about the Whipple procedure and find answers to questions about the Whipple procedure, including:

  • How will my lifestyle be affected with a portion of my pancreas removed?
  • Pre-surgery appointments and preparation
  • What to expect after Whipple surgery
  • Pain expectations and pain management after Whipple surgery
  • The care team

Contact the Pancreatic Cancer Program at Methodist Dallas

For more information about pancreatic cancer treatment options and pancreatic cancer resources at Methodist Dallas Medical Center,
call (214) 933-6601

Physicians performing the da Vinci® Robotic Whipple at Methodist Dallas Medical Center:

Methodist Dallas was the first in the nation to be awarded the Joint Commission Gold Seal of Approval, disease-specific certification for pancreatic surgery, and the first in Texas for pancreatic cancer.

Information contained on these pages has been gathered from independent sources and is for informational use only. It is not intended to be a substitute for medical advice and information provided by your health care provider. Any decision you make regarding your health care options should be made after consulting a qualified physician.

American Cancer Society
Pancreatic Cancer Action Network
Staywell Health Library