Types of surgery
A laparoscopy is when a surgeon uses a small camera to look inside the abdomen to find small tumors outside of the pancreas. Also known as a pancreaticoduodenectomy, a Whipple procedure involves removing the head of the pancreas, along with the bile duct and the upper part of the intestine and gallbladder. Tumors of the body and tail of the pancreas are often removed by performing a distal pancreatectomy; this may include removal of the spleen. A total pancreatectomy is performed to remove the pancreas, part of the stomach, small intestine, the common bile duct, gallbladder, spleen, and nearby lymph nodes. If removal of the tumor is not recommended, but the tumor is causing blockage of the bile ducts or intestines, a bypass procedure may be recommended to reroute the bile duct and stomach around the area of obstruction.