Total pancreatectomy can be combined with an islet cell transplant —a transplantation of the patient’s own insulin-producing cells— in order to keep the patients from becoming diabetic. A total pancreatectomy without an islet cell transplant results in 100% certainty that the patient will need insulin for life.
This operation has no additional complication rate compared to the Whipple procedure.
What happens during the surgery?
First, the end of the stomach is divided off and detached. This part of the stomach leads to the small intestine, where the pancreas and bile duct both attach. In the next step, the pancreas is removed along with the connected section of the small intestine. The common bile duct, gallbladder and (usually) the spleen are also removed. To reconnect the intestinal tract, the stomach and the bile duct are connected to the small intestine.