This is a highly specialized surgical procedure that is performed in only a few institutions in the United States. At USC we have utilized this as our primary procedure for treatment of pain in patients with severe chronic pancreatitis. In this delicate operation only the head of pancreas is removed preserving the duodenum and the bile duct. This procedure leads to a much shorter recovery compared to the Whipple operation since the duodenum and the bile duct are preserved.
We often combine the pancreatic head resection procedure with a Peustow procedure to the body and tail of the pancreas thereby offering advantages of both operations to the the patients. The pancreatic head resection procedure provides complete relief of severe pain from chronic pancreatitis in approximately 70% of patients, in addition 15-20% of patients will have a substantial relief of the pain with a reduction in the amount of pain medication after surgery.
The majority of patients who undergo this operation are rehabilitated and have a normal and a fairly active life after the surgery. We would not offer this operation to patients whose chronic pancreatitis is from alcohol abuse unless there is documented evidence of complete abstinence from alcohol.