A pancreatectomy is the surgical removal of all or part of the pancreas. It is a pear-shaped gland that is located between the stomach and the spine. The pancreas functions by producing digestive enzymes and hormones that help digest food and regulate blood sugar respectively. Pancreatectomy is usually indicated for pancreatic cancer and other serious impairment of the pancreas. A laparoscopic pancreatectomy is a minimally invasive surgical procedure that is performed to remove benign or malignant (cancerous) tumors in the pancreas.
- Laparoscopic pancreatectomy is usually performed under general anesthesia.
- Your surgeon will make 3 to 5 small keyhole incisions on your abdomen.
- A laparoscope - small, thin tube with a light and tiny video camera (connected to a television monitor) attached at the end- is introduced into the abdomen through one of the keyhole incisions, which helps visualize the inside of the abdomen.
- A harmless carbon dioxide gas is pumped into the abdomen through the laparoscope to expand the abdomen for better visualization of the internal structures and to make more space for the surgeon to work.
- Small specialized instruments are introduced through the other incisions.
- The high-intensity camera attached with the laparoscope provides an enlarged image of the patient’s internal organs on a television monitor.
- With the images from the laparoscope as a guide, your surgeon detects the pancreas and ascertains that the cancer has not spread and the tumor is still operable.
- Your surgeon removes the cancerous part of your pancreas, and if necessary, the spleen and other soft tissue structures surrounding the pancreas.
- The scope and the instruments are withdrawn and incisions are sutured firmly with stitches and sterile dressing is applied.
- The benefits of minimally invasive laparoscopic pancreatectomy include small surgical cuts, minimal pain, shorter hospital stay, faster recovery, reduced scarring, minimal risk of infection, minimal blood loss, and minimal damage to surrounding tissues. You will probably be able to get back to most of your normal activities in a couple of weeks’ time.
- Ask your doctor to know more about minimally invasive laparoscopic pancreatectomy.