The surgeon will be able to determine the appropriate surgery to remove the tumours based on the stage of cancer. A staging laparoscopy is used for this. It also aids in assessing whether or not it is resectable. Biopsy samples of regions where the cancer has spread are taken as part of the process. Small cuts or incisions are made in the abdomen, and long, thin instruments are inserted. On a video camera attached to one of the equipment, the surgeon examines the pancreas and other organs for tumours. In the treatment of pancreatic cancer, there are two types of procedures.

Potentially curative surgery:

When tumours are resectable, these operations have a chance of becoming curative (removable). This is an extremely difficult procedure. Not all tumours are actually resectable, in general. After the surgeon starts the surgery, it may become evident that the cancer has spread to a wide area of the body. In such circumstances, surgery can only aid with pain relief. Surgery is only a treatment for exocrine tumours, not a cure, albeit it is more effective for pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours.

Because tumours in the head of the pancreas lie close to the bile duct and induce jaundice, they are often detected early and treated with curative surgery.

Whipple’s operation:

It is one of the most known surgeries for treating pancreatic cancers. The following items are eliminated during this procedure:

  • the head of the pancreas
  • lower end of the stomach
  • the head of the pancreas
  • Gallbladder
  • Part of bile duct
  • Surrounding lymph nodes

The pancreas is subsequently connected to the stomach's small intestine.

Distal pancreatectomy:

In the said surgery, the tail and a part of the body of the pancreas along with the spleen are eliminated. The procedure is beneficial in the treatment of NETs.

Total pancreatectomy:

The entire pancreas, gallbladder, part of the stomach and small intestine, as well as the spleen, are removed during a total pancreatectomy. When cancer has progressed to the entire pancreas and all other treatments have failed, this procedure is used.

Palliative surgery:

When a malignancy has spread far and surgery is no longer effective, palliative surgery is considered. They are designed to alleviate or prevent discomfort. Palliation does not include large surgeries because pancreatic cancer spreads swiftly, especially in those with a poor health history.

Stent placement:

The most common method for clearing a clogged bile duct is the insertion of a stent. It is not a surgical procedure. A small tube of metal called a stent is inserted within the duct to keep it open even if the cancer presses on it as part of the treatment. Endoscopy is used to accomplish this. It also aids in the relief of jaundice prior to curative surgery.

Bypass surgery

Bypass surgery bypasses the pancreas by rerouting bile flow from the common bile duct directly into the small intestine. This treatment could be performed laparoscopically or with big incisions. Although bypassing offers several benefits, it is an extremely difficult operation.

Surgery to treat pancreatic neuroendocrine tumours:

There are a few less invasive ways to get rid of pancreatic NETs. The following are some of them:


This is a less invasive surgery that involves removing the tumour via laparoscopy. Insulinomas and gastrinomas are among the conditions that can be treated.

Whipple operation or distal pancreatectomy:

This procedure is chosen depending on the location of the bigger gastrinomas. The lymph nodes in the area are also removed.

Side effects of surgeries:

  • Pain
  • Skin problems
  • Chest infections
  • Diabetes
  • Bleeding
  • Heart problems
  • Constipation and digestion problems
  • Anastomotic leak