Why Would a Person Need to Undergo Pancreas Surgery?

The pancreas is a gland that secretes digestive enzymes and produces hormones, including insulin, to regulate body processes. Located in the abdomen, this organ is vital for both digestion and blood sugar regulation. Most people live their entire lives without giving any thought to this tiny organ as it works diligently behind the scenes. It’s not until they begin experiencing fever, nausea, vomiting, or yellowing skin that people grow concerned with the pancreas. 

Below, we discuss pancreas surgery and the conditions in which a surgeon will elect to perform this surgery on a patient. If you are experiencing any of the symptoms mentioned throughout this article, schedule an appointment with Whalen Clark, M.D., the best pancreatic surgeon in Tampa


Pancreatitis occurs when the pancreas becomes inflamed due to digestive enzymes becoming active while still in the pancreas. While most cases are acute, others are chronic and require long-term treatment and lifestyle changes. Signs of acute pancreatitis include: 

  • Abdominal pain that worsens after a meal
  • Abdominal tenderness
  • Fever
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Rapid heart rate 
  • Radiating abdominal pain

Frequent bouts of acute pancreatitis can lead to chronic pancreatitis, digestive problems, and diabetes. Those with chronic pancreatitis may be experiencing upper abdominal pain, extreme weight loss, and oily stools. Alcohol dependency, smoking, and obesity all play a role in the development of pancreatitis, and treatment often centers around addressing these underlying causes. However, in severe cases, surgery may be the only option. 

Pancreatic Cancer

Dubbed a “silent killer” by ABC News, pancreatic cancer is “the third leading cause of cancer deaths in the U.S. — it may even surpass lung and colorectal by 2020.” Each year, roughly 56,000 people are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer and roughly 45,000 die from it. Being aware of the below symptoms is crucial for catching this deadly disease early: 

  • Abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Decreased appetite 
  • Jaundice (yellowing skin)
  • Recent-onset diabetes
  • Stool changes 
  • Weight loss

Pancreatitis itself is a possible sign of pancreatic cancer, which is why consulting the best pancreatic surgeon in Tampa when you experience the above symptoms is so important for safeguarding your health. 

Pancreas Surgery 

Surgery is often the best option for patients suffering from pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer. With surgery, medical professionals can address the underlying cause of pancreatitis — often a bile duct obstruction or gallstones. For those suffering from pancreatic cancer, surgery is the best way to prevent the spread of cancer to surrounding organs. Your surgeon may elect to remove some or all of your pancreas as well as damaged surrounding organs. 

As a board-certified surgeon, Dr. Clark utilizes advanced robotics to perform the above procedures. With the aid of the da Vinci® surgical system, Dr. Clark is able to treat pancreatitis and remove pancreatic tumors with incredible precision. Surrounded by the stomach, intestines, and gallbladder, the pancreas can be notoriously difficult to access, but this minimally invasive procedure involves only half-inch incisions to ensure a faster recovery time and a lower risk of complications. If you are suffering from pancreatitis or pancreatic cancer, request an appointment with Dr. Clark to discuss your next steps and whether pancreas surgery in Tampa is right for you. 

To learn more about pancreas surgery in Tampa, or to schedule a consultation with Whalen Clark, M.D., please request an appointment today.

The content, views, and opinions communicated on this website do not represent the views of Whalen Clark, M.D. Reliance on any information provided by this website is solely at your own risk. Although this website contains links to other medical websites, this is strictly for informational purposes. Whalen Clark, M.D. is not responsible nor do they approve of the content featured on any third party linked websites referenced on this website.

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