The type of surgery performed depends mostly on the location of the tumor in your pancreas. Your surgeon will recommend the procedure that removes the tumor and affected tissue while safely preserving as much of the pancreas as possible.
In a distal pancreatectomy, the tail and body of the pancreas are removed and the head of the pancreas is preserved. Since the spleen is so close to the tail of the pancreas, sometimes the spleen is also removed during the procedure.
A distal pancreatectomy can sometimes be performed laparoscopically. The laparoscopic procedure is performed using long instruments and a camera inserted through several tiny incisions. Laparoscopic distal pancreas patients tend to experience shorter hospital stays, less blood loss, and in our experience lower leak complication rates.
A typical distal pancreatectomy procedure requires about 2 to 4 hours, depending on the exact location and pathology of the tumor.