Whipple Procedure

What is Whipple procedure?

Whipple procedure, also called pancreaticoduodenectomy, is a surgical procedure to treat pancreatic cancer or bile duct cancer. Its main objective is to remove tumours that are within or around the head of the pancreas.

During a Whipple procedure, the surgeon will remove:

  • The head of the pancreas
  • The duodenum, which is a part of the small intestine
  • A portion of the bile duct
  • The gall bladder

In some cases, the surgeon will also remove:

  • The body of the pancreas
  • A portion of the stomach

After removing these affected internal organs, the surgeon will connect the remaining intestine, bile duct and pancreas.

This procedure is named after Dr Allen Whipple, the first American surgeon to perform the operation in 1935.

Whipple procedure

Why do you need a Whipple procedure?

Removing a tumour in the pancreas via a Whipple procedure is the best chance for long-term management of pancreatic cancer.

This procedure is suitable only if the tumour is confined to the head of the pancreas. As the risks of Whipple procedures are high, your surgeon will likely order intensive tests to determine your eligibility before going ahead with the surgery.

Who should not undergo Whipple procedure?

A Whipple operation is not suitable if the tumour has spread to the:

  • Abdominal cavity
  • Body or tail of the pancreas
  • Liver
  • Lungs
  • Major blood vessels

What are the risks and complications of a Whipple procedure?

The Whipple procedure is a highly complex and risky surgery. Death rates vary between 1 – 15% according to the experience of the surgeons.

Patients who undergo a successful Whipple procedures have up to a 25% chance of surviving for 5 years after being diagnosed with pancreatic cancer. Without a Whipple procedure, their 5-year survival rate is only 6%.

Possible complications of a Whipple procedure include:

  • Bleeding
  • Diabetes
  • Digestive problems
  • Infections
  • Pancreatic leak
  • Weight loss

Why choose Parkway East Hospital?

At Parkway East Hospital in Singapore, our surgeons are supported by a comprehensive team of healthcare professionals who will work closely with you to manage pancreatic cancer. If you are a suitable candidate for Whipple procedure, you will be supported by our team in helping you prepare for this major surgery.

Our general surgeons and medical oncologists

At Parkway East Hospital, our general surgeons and cancer specialists experienced in the Whipple procedure work closely with relevant clinicians, dietitians and our team of nurses to deliver quality healthcare. We will support you on your rehabilitation journey and strive to reduce your pain and discomfort caused by pancreatic cancer.

Please check with your insurance provider for more information, and for their most up-to-date list of panel doctors.

^Specialists may qualify to be on the Extended Panel (EP). You may enjoy selected panel benefits depending on your policy and riders.
This page has been reviewed by our medical content reviewers.

Need help?

For enquiries, please call
+65 6377 3737

For appointment bookings, please WhatsApp
+65 8111 3777