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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:

  1. refinements in surgical techniques
  2. better understanding of pancreatic diseases
  3. advances in diagnostics
  4. better patient selection
  5. 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:

  1. Wound infection
  2. Bleeding
  3. Heart attack
  4. Stroke
  5. Chest infection
  6. 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.

2.    Abscess.

    • 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.


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