Distal Pancreatectomy

What is a distal pancreatectomy and why is it necessary?

A distal pancreatectomy is the removal of the end of the pancreas while leaving the pancreatic head attached. It is performed to treat pancreatic cancer localized in the end of the pancreas, but may also be used for chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic pseudocysts, and injury due to trauma. When the disease affects the splenic artery or vein, the adjacent spleen is often removed.

After removal of the end of the pancreas, the remaining portion of the organ functions normally by producing and releasing digestive enzymes and hormones. Compared to surgical procedures that remove the head of the pancreas, a distal pancreatectomy is performed in much less time and requires a shorter recovery period. The procedure can mostly be performed using laparoscopic approach.

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