Episode #101: The Whipple Procedure

Greg Adams, a pancreatic cancer survivor and team leader of the “Life After Whipple” project, introduces the project providing helpful information for those undergoing or considering the Whipple procedure for pancreatic cancer. Dr. Kwon discusses the anatomy of the pancreas and types of pancreatic operations, focusing on the Whipple procedure and its implications, such as encasement around blood vessels leading to unresectable tumors. The Whipple procedure is a complex six-step operation that involves removing and reconnecting the bile duct, stomach, and pancreas head. Although there are controversies surrounding pylorus preservation, both techniques have comparable long-term effects.

The discussion also highlights complications like Type 3 diabetes, exocrine pancreas insufficiency, delayed gastric emptying, and leakages from pancreatic connections. Medical treatments for weakly squeezing stomachs involve Reglan or Redline. Following the procedure, patients require lifelong acid reduction medication and may face complications like bile reflux and potential hiatal hernias. Foreign patients considering treatment are advised to research and contact international patient services offered by specialized medical centers for the best possible outcome.


00:00:00      Introduction of the “Life After Whipple” project and the purpose of this series aiming to disseminate helpful information for pancreatic cancer survivors.

00:05:00      Dr. Kwon explains the anatomy of the pancreas and the types of pancreas operations one may undergo for cancer, focusing on the Whipple procedure and its consequences.

00:10:00      Various stages of pancreatic cancer and whether they are respectable via surgery or not.

00:15:00      The concept of “encasement” in pancreatic cancer, using a CT scan image as an example.

00:20:00     The complex nature of the Whipple procedure, a six-step operation used to remove tumors in the pancreas.

00:25:00     The importance of early detection and symptoms of pancreas cancer and the development in early detection tests on the horizon.

00:30:00     Three components of pancreas reconstruction after the Whipple procedure, focusing on the technical challenges of connecting the pancreas, bile duct, and stomach.

00:35:00    The challenges and techniques used during surgery to secure the pancreatic in place.

00:40:00    Health complications that can arise after undergoing pancreas surgery, specifically Type 3 diabetes and exocrine pancreas insufficiency.

00:45:00    The debate surrounding pylorus preservation during the procedure.

00:50:00    The complications of delayed gastric emptying after the procedure.

00:55:00    Questions answered in regard to surgery in foreign countries.