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Pancreas

ailments and treatments

Treatments and solutions designed to bring you relief.

Pancreas and Associated Diseases

The pancreas is an organ of the digestive system that resides deep in the abdomen.  It serves an "endocrine" role, relating to the secretion of insulin and helping control blood sugar levels and metabolism within the body, and an "exocrine" role, relating to the secretion of enzymes involved in digesting substances from outside of the body.

Learn more about these common ailments:

Pancreatic Cancer

There are several types of pancreatic cancer, involving both the endocrine and exocrine tissue. Pancreatic adenocarcinoma, which affects the exocrine part of the pancreas, is by far the most common form. There are many types of pancreatic endocrine tumors, most of which are rare. In the United States pancreatic cancer is the fourth most common cause of deaths due to cancer. For cancers involving the head of the pancreas, the Whipple procedure is the most commonly attempted curative surgical treatment. This is a major operation which involves removing the pancreatic head and the curve of the duodenum together, making a bypass for food from the stomach to the small intestine, and attaching a loop of small intestine to the cystic duct to drain bile. Cancers of the tail of the pancreas can be resected using a procedure known as a distal pancreatectomy, which often also entails removal of the spleen.

CT

Quick and efficient imaging

A computerized tomography (CT) scan combines a series of X-ray images taken from different angles and uses computer processing to create cross-sectional images of the inside of your body. CT scan images provide more detailed information than plain X-rays do.

Ultrasound

Quick and efficient imaging

An ultrasound uses high-frequency sound waves to look at organs and structures inside the body. Our doctors utilize this technology to view the heart, blood vessels, kidneys, liver, and pancreas. During an ultrasound test, you lie on a table. A special technician or doctor moves a device called a transducer over part of your body. The transducer sends out sound waves, which bounce off the tissues inside your body. The transducer also captures the waves that bounce back. The ultrasound machine creates images from the sound waves.

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

Endoscopy for the pancreas

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, or ERCP, is a specialized technique used to study the bile ducts, pancreatic duct and gallbladder. Ducts are drainage routes; the drainage channels from the liver are called bile or biliary ducts. The pancreatic duct is the drainage channel from the pancreas.

Whipple Procedure

A complex procedure for extending life

Because pancreatic cancer often grows and spreads long before it causes any symptoms, only about 6% of patients are still alive five years after diagnosis. For some pancreatic patients, however, a complex surgery known as the Whipple procedure may extend life and could be a potential cure. Those who undergo a successful Whipple procedure may have a five-year survival rate of up to 25%.

Laparoscopic Distal Pancreatectomy

For benign and malignant disease

Distal pancreatectomy is the standard curative treatment for symptomatic benign, premalignant, and malignant disease of the pancreatic body and tail. The most obvious benefits of a laparoscopic approach to distal pancreatectomy include earlier recovery and a shorter hospital stay.

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

Endoscopy for the pancreas

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, or ERCP, is a specialized technique used to study the bile ducts, pancreatic duct and gallbladder. Ducts are drainage routes; the drainage channels from the liver are called bile or biliary ducts. The pancreatic duct is the drainage channel from the pancreas.

Laparoscopic Cystogastrostomy

For benign and malignant disease

Cystogastrostomy is a surgery to create an opening between a pancreatic pseudocyst and the stomach when the cyst is in a suitable position to be drained into the stomach. This conserves pancreatic juices that would otherwise be lost.

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Northwest Institute for Digestive Surgery - The Digestive Health Experts.