Whipple Procedure Offered in Baltimore at Mercy

The surgeons of Surgical Oncology at Mercy Medical Center in Baltimore, Maryland, offer their experience and skills in performing the Whipple procedure. Our multidisciplinary team performs this procedure with a high level of expertise for patients facing a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer and other associated tumors.

What is the Whipple Procedure?

The Whipple procedure also is known as a Whipple resection or pancreaticoduodenectomy. The procedure is performed for patients with pancreatic cancer, duodenal cancer (the first 12 inches of small intestine beyond the stomach), bile duct cancer and cancers involving the ampulla of Vater (where the bile duct and pancreatic duct insert into the duodenum). The Whipple procedure also may be necessary to treat benign tumors involving these organs and for conditions of the pancreas, such as chronic pancreatitis.

The operation typically includes the removal of the head (or right hand portion) of the pancreas, the duodenum, the associated portion of the bile duct and in some cases, a portion of the stomach. The gallbladder also is removed if the patient has not had a previous cholecystectomy. 

How is the Whipple Procedure performed?

The Whipple procedure is typically completed through an incision in the patient’s abdomen. Diseased organs are located and removed using traditional surgical tools.

Some patients, however, may be candidates for a minimally invasive surgical option known as a laparoscopic Whipple procedure. A laparoscopic Whipple procedure is completed through a number of small incisions. A long thin tube with a lighted camera at its tip, known as a laparoscope, is inserted through one of these small incisions. The surgeon is guided by images on a screen provided by the laparoscope, while utilizing additional surgical instruments through neighboring incisions to perform the Whipple procedure.

This minimally invasive surgery may provide a less painful and quicker recovery than a traditional Whipple procedure.

Who should receive a Whipple Procedure?

Patients who have been diagnosed with pancreatic or similar abdominal cancer or tumors may be candidates for the Whipple procedure. Candidacy and success of the Whipple procedure may rely on early detection before the cancer is advanced. Risk factors, an evaluation of your medical history and a thorough examination with your doctor may also help determine whether the Whipple procedure, or the less invasive laparoscopic Whipple procedure, is a suitable surgical option.

Surgical Oncology at Mercy is recognized for skilled cancer surgeons who provide expertise in treating patients with melanoma, abdominal/stomach and GI cancers.