Pancreatectomy is a surgical procedure that involves the removal of all or part of the pancreas, a gland located in the abdomen that produces insulin and digestive enzymes. It is commonly used to treat pancreatic cancer, chronic pancreatitis, and other pancreatic disorders.

Types of Pancreatectomy:

There are several types of pancreatectomy, including:

  1. Total Pancreatectomy: This involves the complete removal of the pancreas.
  2. Distal Pancreatectomy: This involves the removal of the tail and body of the pancreas.
  3. Subtotal Pancreatectomy: This involves the removal of a portion of the pancreas, usually the head or body.
  4. Whipple Procedure: This involves the removal of the head of the pancreas, duodenum, a portion of the stomach, and the bile duct. Indications for Pancreatectomy

Pancreatectomy is indicated for the following conditions:

  1. Pancreatic cancer: It is the most common indication for pancreatectomy. This procedure may be curative or palliative depending on the stage of cancer.
  2. Chronic pancreatitis: This is a long-term inflammation of the pancreas, which can cause abdominal pain, digestive problems, and diabetes. Pancreatectomy may be necessary in severe cases.
  3. Pancreatic cysts: These are fluid-filled sacs that can form in the pancreas. They may be benign or malignant and can be treated with pancreatectomy.
  4. Pancreatic trauma: Severe injury to the pancreas may require pancreatectomy.

Preoperative evaluation:

A preoperative evaluation is necessary before pancreatectomy. The following tests are usually performed:

  1. Blood tests: These are done to evaluate liver function, pancreatic enzymes, and blood sugar levels.
  2. Imaging tests: CT scan, MRI, and ultrasound are used to evaluate the pancreas and surrounding structures.
  3. Endoscopic ultrasound: This is a specialized type of ultrasound that is done through a flexible tube inserted through the mouth to the stomach to get a detailed image of the pancreas.
  4. Biopsy: A small sample of tissue is taken from the pancreas to evaluate for cancer.

Surgical Technique:

Pancreatectomy is performed under general anesthesia. The surgical technique depends on the type of pancreatectomy being performed. In general, the following steps are involved:

  1. Incision: A large incision is made in the abdomen to access the pancreas.
  2. Dissection: The pancreas is carefully dissected from the surrounding tissue to avoid injury to nearby structures such as blood vessels and nerves.
  3. Removal: The portion of the pancreas to be removed is cut and removed.
  4. Reconstruction: The remaining pancreas or digestive system is reconstructed to maintain normal function.


Pancreatectomy is a complex procedure that carries a risk of complications, including:

  1. Pancreatic fistula: This is a leakage of pancreatic fluid from the surgical site.
  2. Infection: Infection at the surgical site can occur.
  3. Bleeding: Excessive bleeding may occur during or after surgery.
  4. Diabetes: Removal of the pancreas can cause diabetes.

Postoperative Care:

After pancreatectomy, the patient is closely monitored in the hospital. The following measures are taken:

  1. Pain management: Pain medications are given to manage postoperative pain.
  2. Nutrition: The patient is gradually started on a liquid diet, which is then progressed to a solid diet.
  3. Blood sugar control: Patients who have undergone total pancreatectomy require insulin injections to control blood sugar levels.
  4. Follow-up: Regular follow-up visits are scheduled to monitor the patient’s recovery