Laparoscopic ‘keyhole’ surgery is offered to patients with a pancreatic tumour or cysts on the tail of the pancreas. This surgery allows for quicker recovery however, it is only possible in selected cases. The surgery involves the use of four or sometime five small 1-2cm incisions as shown below. The tail of the pancreas is removed through the belly button wound using a small bag.
Effects of Laparoscopic Distal Pancreatectomy
All patients are warned that the spleen as it lies in close proximity to the tail of the pancreas in some cases needs to be removed (see diagram below). The cells that control blood sugar levels predominantly lie on the tail of the pancreas. Hence once the tail of the pancreas has been removed some patients can become insulin resistant, or diabetic following surgery. Laparoscopic pancreatic surgery does lead to quicker recovery with most patients being discharged in 5-7 days.
Incisions used for Laparoscopic Distal Pancreatectomy