Pancreas surgery specialist performs 1,000th Whipple procedure

Pancreas surgery specialist Charles J. Yeo, M.D., Samuel D. Gross Professor and Chair, Department of Surgery at Jefferson Medical College of Thomas Jefferson University, and Co-Director of the Pancreatic, Biliary Tract and Related Cancer Center at Thomas Jefferson University Hospital, recently performed his 1,000th Whipple procedure (pancreaticoduodenectomy). Only one other surgeon in the United States has reached this milestone for this procedure. That surgeon is John Cameron, M.D., Professor, Department of Surgery at The Johns Hopkins Hospital.

The Whipple procedure is a major surgical operation involving removal of portions of the pancreas, bile duct and duodenum. This operation is typically performed to treat malignant tumors involving the pancreas, common bile duct or duodenum, as well as pre-malignant lesions and some benign lesions in the area. Dr. Yeo most commonly has performed the mini-Whipple procedure, which spares the entire stomach and the pylorus and removes the right side of the pancreas, the lower common bile duct, the lower part of the duodenum, the proximal jejunum and the regional lymph nodes. Reconstruction consists of attaching the pancreas to the jejunum (pancreaticojejunostomy), and attaching the hepatic duct to the jejunum (hepaticojejunostomy) to allow pancreatic juices and bile, respectively, to flow into the gastrointestinal tract; and attaching the duodenum to the jejunum (duodenojejunostomy) to allow food to pass normally into the gastrointentinal tract. The surgery typically takes about six hours. For most patients, discharge from the hospital is planned for the sixth or seventh day following surgery.

"It took more than 20 years of teamwork to reach this milestone. None of these operations would have been possible without the support and expertise of the nurses, anesthesiologists and surgical house officers that I have been privileged to work with these past two decades," said Dr. Yeo. "The most important thing to remember is that this milestone represents 1,000 patients and their families who put all their trust in us to undergo such a formidable operation, with the hope of full recovery."

In most cases, Dr. Yeo and other Jefferson surgeons offer patients participation in several clinical trials and research studies as part of their Whipple procedure. Such studies include randomized trials of intraoperative nerve block and post-operative exercise programs, and extensive genetic analysis of resected tumors.

Surgeons at Jefferson's Pancreas, Biliary and Related Cancer Center have extensive experience in performing pancreatic and related operations; the success of which clinical studies have shown is significantly improved when performed at high-volume centers such as Jefferson. In a typical year, Jefferson surgeons perform approximately 200 pancreatic resections, including more than 125 Whipple procedures and dozens of distal pancreatectomies.

Dr. Yeo adds, "I am delighted to have reached this milestone while at Jefferson because it is my hope and vision to make Thomas Jefferson University Hospital the number one hepato-pancreatico-biliary program on the East Coast."


Thomas Jefferson University


The opinions expressed here are the views of the writer and do not necessarily reflect the views and opinions of News Medical.
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