What to Expect at a Surgery Consultation

During your consultation with a Pancreas Center surgeon, you will meet with several members of the surgical team including a nurse practitioner, your attending surgeon, and possibly a resident or a fellow who will be assisting with your care. Working together with you, the team will determine your surgical care plan. 

Many people come to our office with a diagnosis of pancreatic cancer or a precancerous condition like IPMN already established by another doctor. Our goal is to confirm that the diagnosis is correct and ensure the extent of disease has been properly interpreted so that we can determine the best course of therapy. In some cases, surgery will be recommended, in others further testing or continued surveillance of your symptoms will be the best course of action. 

After registering at the front desk on the 8th floor of the Herbert Irving Pavilion, your visit will start with a full medical history and physical. You will be asked to discuss your personal health history as well as any cancer in your family. We will ask you about any symptoms or pain you have been experiencing and how long those symptoms have been bothering you. During your consultation, we will also review any medical records, imaging studies, or biopsy reports that you have brought with you or that you sent to the office ahead of your appointment.

If you have recently had imaging studies performed, such as an MRI or CT scan, it is critical to bring a copy of the images as well as the report. The findings of your imaging study will help your surgeon decide if you need an operation, as well as what type of operation is indicated. If the imaging study was performed here at NewYork-Presbyterian Hospital/ Columbia University Medical Center, we will be able to access the information internally. If the study was performed at an outside facility, we strongly encourage you to obtain a copy of the images and report ahead of time to bring with you to your consultation, otherwise we will not be able to complete a full evaluation of your case and your treatment plan may be delayed. We never perform surgery without the surgeon seeing the actual images (as opposed to only just the image report).

Similarly, if you have had a biopsy performed at an outside facility, it is important to bring a copy of the report and the biopsy slides. This information will enable us to make the best possible recommendation regarding your care. 

Your consultation may take up to 90 minutes. By the end of your visit, your team will make their initial recommendation for your care. If surgery is recommended, someone from the Pancreas Center will call you to schedule your surgery and your required preoperative testing. Alternately, you may schedule these appointments before you leave. If further testing is required, a member of the Pancreas Center staff will call you after your initial consultation.