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Central Pancreatectomy is an operation to remove part of the body of the pancreas. Unlike the Whipple operation, the head of the pancreas, the duodenum, the bile duct and the stomach do not need to be removed. Hence it is an easier operation compared to the Whipple operation.

CentralPancreatectomy1  CentralPancreatectomy2 

Images courtesy of Dept of Surgery, University of Heidelberg, Germany

This operation is designed for small and less aggressive tumours arising from the body of the pancreas. Examples of tumours suitable for central pancreatectomy are:

  • Small neuroendocrine tumours
  • Small cystic tumours of the pancreas

The advantage of this operation, especially when compared to the distal pancreatectomy operation, is that we avoid sacrificing too much normal pancreas.

This operation is performed under general anaesthesia. In addition, the anaesthetist may place an epidural catheter for epidural analgesia. This provides excellent pain relief following the surgical operation.

This operation is usually performed via an incision over the abdomen.

If you have a problem in the body of the pancreas, and would like to know if an operation is needed, and if this technique is suitable for your condition, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Some of the risks associated with the pancreatic operations can be read here.

Your surgeon will assess your general health status. Blood tests, chest X-ray and electro-cardiogram (ECG) may be done if needed. The purpose of these tests is to ensure that you are healthy and fit enough to proceed with the operation under general anaesthesia.

You may be admitted one day before the operation or on the same day of the operation.

You will have to stop eating or drinking for 6 hours before the operation.

Your anaesthetist will put you under General Anaesthesia for the surgery. You will have a catheter placed into your bladder to drain the urine. A tube will also be placed through your nose into the stomach to empty the stomach.

This operation is conducted in 2 phases:
In phase 1, the surgeon will dissect out and remove the body of the pancreas.
In phase 2, the surgeon will mobilise a loop of intestine to bridge the gap. This will involve stitching the pancreas to this loop of intestine.

Depending on the condition, the entire operation may last from 3 hours to 6 hours.

The patient will be nursed in the General Ward. Sometimes a patient may be sent to the High Dependency ward for one or two days.

The patient will have a nasogastric tube and a urine catheter. In addition, there will be one to two surgical tubes placed into the abdomen to remove any residual fluid or blood. The patient will not be allowed to eat for a couple of days. Intravenous fluid will be given to the patient for hydration as well as nutrition.

You are encouraged to be as active as possible. Whilst in bed, you will be asked to do frequent calf and leg exercises by pointing your toes back towards your knee and then pointing them towards the foot of the bed. This exercise prevents deep vein thrombosis. You will need to cough and do deep breathing exercises. This will reduce your risk of getting a chest infection.

The average length of stay following a central pancreatectomy is 7 to 10 days. However the length of stay will vary between individuals.

If there are any complications, the length of stay will be prolonged.

You can read more about how to care for yourself following your discharge from the hospital after a surgical operation by clicking here.

An appointment date will be given to you to return for a follow up consultation, usually in about a week.
Please contact your Nexus Surgical surgeon at our 24-hr hotline (+65 6333 5550) if you experience the following:

  • Fever more than 38oC
  • Severe pain and redness at the wound site
  • Discharge from the incisions such as pus
  • Bleeding from the wound
  • Jaundice (yellowing of skin)
  • Severe abdominal pain and bloating


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