What is the pancreas?

The pancreas is an organ that lies deep in the upper abdomen. It has two major roles:

  • Production of hormones such as insulin (which regulates blood sugar levels)
  • Production of a juice containing enzymes that help digest food

When the pancreas is not working properly diabetes can develop and food (particularly fat) may not be digested completely, causing diarrhoea.

What does pancreatectomy and major vascular resection involve?

Sometimes pancreatic cancer grows into or around the major veins next to the pancreas – the superior mesenteric and portal veins. Although this can be predicted to some extent by scans done before surgery, sometimes it is only apparent during the operation. To remove the cancer completely, the surgeon may need to remove part of the vein. The vein is then joined back together. This is called vein resection and reconstruction. Vein resection makes the surgery more complicated. Your team at Harbour Surgery Centre has the experience and expertise to perform this type of surgery.

The content is to be used as a guide only. Always consult you specialist to determine information relevant to you and your circumstances.