Pancreatic surgery can be challenging because the pancreas is a small organ located behind the stomach. But Gundersen Health System has a robust surgical team that features specialists in pancreatic surgery, including minimally invasive procedures.
What is the pancreas?
The pancreas—connected to the small intestine—is essential to digestion. It makes and releases enzymes that help the body absorb foods, especially fats. Hormones that help the body control blood sugar levels are also made in the pancreas.
Surgical diseases of the pancreas
There are many conditions that can affect the pancreas that may require surgery. Some of the most common include:
- Pancreatic cancer, such as malignant pancreatic adenocarcinoma and pancreatic neuroendocrine tumors
- Cystic neoplasms of the pancreas (cysts) including non-cancerous tumors such as benign intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms (IPMN)
- Inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis)
Treatments we offer
Surgical treatment of pancreatic diseases can be performed using minimally invasive laparoscopic procedures or open procedures including the complex pancreaticoduodenectomies—or Whipple procedure. Some studies suggest that Whipple surgery is best performed at a hospital that performs the procedure frequently—more than five per year—such as Gundersen where we perform the procedure 10 to 15 times a year.