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Whipple procedure


  • Epidural pain relief is usually given for 3–5 days and helps the mobilization of the patient.
  • The patient often has a naso-gastric tube for the first 24 hours.
  • The patient may drink as soon as he/she would like to.

Possible serious complications are often due to:

  • Failure in one or more anastomoses
  • Abscess and/or sepsis 
  • Bleeding

Less serious complications involve delayed gastric emptying. Thus, long-lasting delay of stomach emptying should raise the suspicion of an underlying intraabdominal complication.

The patient

After a complication-free postoperative stay, the patient is usually transferred to a local hospital after about 1 week and is discharged after 10–14 days.

When histology report from the surgical specimen is available, treatment with chemotherapy will be considered.

The patient is usually followed up by their primary care physician after treatment is completed.


  • Patients having stomach resections may develop vitamin B12 and iron deficiencies. Hemoglobin should be checked every 4 months and a B12 injection is recommended.
  • Exocrine insufficiency can occur. This is treated with pancreatic enzymes in tablet form.  
  • After a pancreatic resection, there is an increased risk for developing diabetes and the patient must be informed about the initial symptoms of diabetes mellitus.

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