Pancreatic Cancer Surgery in Fort Lauderdale, Florida

When assessing their options for pancreatic surgery, patients are often presented with two available options:

  • Potentially curative surgery: When it’s possible to resect the malignancy surgically
  • Palliative surgery: When the tests show that the cancer might be too widespread and it might be challenging to remove it in its entirety. In these cases, specialists perform surgery to relieve pancreatic cancer symptoms and complications, such as blocked bile ducts.

Assessing Pancreatic Cancer Symptoms

To determine the surgery type that would yield the most optimal results, experts must first determine the extent of the disease. With imaging tests alone, it might be challenging to stage the tumors, and pancreatic cancer specialists may recommend a laparoscopy to stage the disease. The thin instrument has a camera on it, which can help doctors see the pancreas and the surrounding organ. Furthermore, biopsies can help show how far the malignancy has spread.

Curative Pancreatic Cancer Surgery

Curative options are often complex surgeries that can be challenging for patients, and because of the disease’s nature, surgery offers the only realistic option to cure pancreatic cancer.

Whipple procedure or pancreaticoduodenectomy: This is the most common surgery to remove malignancies in the pancreas head. During surgery, the pancreatic cancer specialist removes the head of the organ, but often, the body of the pancreas too. Parts of the bile duct, nearby lymph nodes, part of the small intestine, bile duct parts, and sometimes even stomach parts are removed.

Distal pancreatectomy: During this surgery, the surgical oncologist removes the pancreas tail and a part of the pancreas body as well, along with the spleen. Typically, this procedure is recommended when the malignancy is found on the body and the tail of the pancreas.

Total pancreatectomy: As the name suggests, during this procedure, the doctors will remove the entire organ together with the spleen, gallbladder, and parts of the small intestine and the stomach. This may be an effective option if the cancer has spread beyond the pancreas but hasn’t invaded distant organs yet.

Palliative Pancreatic Cancer Surgery

In cases when the disease has spread too far from the pancreas, experts consider palliative surgeries to relieve symptoms. For the most part, growing tumors in the pancreas head are able to block the bile duct, causing digestive problems and pain. Pancreatic cancer specialists typically use two different options to prevent the blockage:

Pancreatic Cysts

Pancreatic cysts are growths on the pancreas that are filled with fluid. Often, the cysts appear when the organ becomes inflamed, but others may develop for no specific reason and are only discovered during MRI or CT scans.

Most types of pancreatic cysts are benign without any symptoms, but some may be malignant, potentially developing into cancer. This is why it’s imperative that patients know what cyst type they have.

Types of Pancreatic Cysts

All in all, there are close to 20 pancreatic cyst types, and the most common include:

Serous cystadenomas, or SCAs, contain clear fluid and have fibrous and thick walls. They are almost all benign, but they can lead to jaundice and pain.

Pseudocysts primarily consist of fluid, and they often start next to or in the organ and may be a result of acute pancreatitis.

Mucinous cystic neoplasms or MCNs are precancerous that usually start either in the tail or the body of the pancreas.

Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms or IPMNs develop in the ducts connecting the intestine and the pancreas. These are the most common precancerous types of pancreatic cysts, producing large amounts of proteins.

Monitoring and Pancreatic Cyst Treatment

Experts often state that most of these discovered cysts are best left alone and just monitored. Most pancreatic cysts don’t cause any trouble and are actually relatively common. Still, when the doctors determine that treatment is needed, they will often recommend surgery to remove the cyst.

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