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Laparoscopic Distal Pancreatectomy - Splenic Preserving


A distal pancreatectomy is a surgery to remove a tumor from the body or tail of your pancreas. Your pancreas is located in the back of your abdomen (belly) behind your stomach and above your small intestine.


Your doctor may recommend you have a Laparoscopic Distal Pancreatectomy to treat:

  • Pancreatic cancer.
  • Pancreatic cysts.
  • Pancreatic tumors.
  • Pancreatitis.
  • Ampullary cancer.
  • Bile duct cancer.
  • Neuroendocrine tumors.
  • Small bowel cancer.
  • Trauma to the pancreas or small intestine.
  • Other tumors or disorders involving the pancreas, duodenum or bile ducts.

Preoperative Instructions

Examples of queries:

  • I take a blood thinner. Some examples are aspirin, heparin, warfarin (Coumadin®), clopidogrel (Plavix®), enoxaparin (Lovenox®), dabigatran (Pradaxa®), apixaban (Eliquis®), and rivaroxaban (Xarelto®). There are others, so be sure your healthcare provider knows all the medications you’re taking.
  • I take prescription medications (medications prescribed by a healthcare provider), including patches and creams.
  • I take over-the-counter medications (medications I buy without a prescription), including patches and creams.
  • I take dietary supplements, such as herbs, vitamins, minerals, or natural or home remedies.
  • I have a pacemaker, automatic implantable cardioverter-defibrillator (AICD), or other heart device.
  • I have sleep apnea.
  • I have had a problem with anesthesia (medication to make you sleep during surgery) in the past.
  • I am allergic to certain medication(s) or materials, including latex.
  • I am not willing to receive a blood transfusion.
  • I drink alcohol.
  • I smoke.
  • I use recreational drugs.


  • Laparoscopic distal pancreatectomy is more commonly done than open approach. Few keyholes on the upper abdomen will help to clearly visualize the pancreas, stomach and spleen.Procedure
  • This is followed by performing an intra-operative ultrasound to localize the tumor or the lesion to decide how much to cut of the pancreas.
  • Every effort is exercised to preserve the spleen if possible.
  • The pancreas then is explored and mobilized off the surrounding structure prior to resecting the diseases part.
  • In open approach, an adequate abdominal incision is to be done then the same surgical steps as laparoscopic approach will follow.

Your surgery will take 2 to 4 hours.

Postoperative Instructions

You will have some pain after your surgery. At first, you will get your pain medication through your epidural catheter or IV line. You will be able to control your pain medication using a PCA device. Once you’re able to eat, you will get oral pain medication (medication you swallow). For 1 to 2 days after your surgery, you won’t be able to eat solid foods. You will follow a clear liquid diet. After that, you will slowly go back to eating your regular diet.


  • Bleeding.
  • Infective Complications.
  • Gastric emptying problems.
  • Pancreatic or bile leak.
  • Diabetes, temporary or permanent.