Complications of Pancreatic Surgery
Surgical operations on the pancreas are complex procedures.
Recent reports of complication rates following pancreatic surgery are in the range of 30% to 40%, whilst mortality rates are less than 5% nowadays.
Some of the factors contributing to this improvement include:
- refinements in surgical techniques
- better understanding of pancreatic diseases
- advances in diagnostics
- better patient selection
- improvements in perioperative care.
General complications are complications which can occur in any operations, be it operation on the bone, heart, lungs, uterus, etc.
Examples of these general complications include:
- Wound infection
- Heart attack
- Chest infection
- Deep vein thrombosis
1. Pancreatic leak.
- This refers to leakage of pancreatic digestive juice.
- In operations like the Whipple operation where part of the pancreas is removed, the remaining part is stitched to the intestine.
- This leak may lead to incomplete healing of this anastomosis.
- This refers to infection of any fluid collection in the abdomen after the surgery.
- The infection converts the fluid collection into a collection of pus.
3. Delayed gastric emptying.
- This refers to a loss of function of the stomach to empty its contents into the small intestine. This is usually temporary.
- During this period, a nasogastric tube may be placed to keep the stomach empty.