IMPORTANCE OF THE PANCREAS
The pancreas is one of the lesser-known organs of the body, albeit a very important one. The job of the pancreas is to produce the chemical insulin, the lack of which causes a wide range of medical conditions including diabetes mellitus and insulin autoimmune syndrome.
A healthy pancreas in a healthy human body produces around 200 units of insulin a day. However, if the pancreas were ill, the amount of insulin produced would either reduce or increase significantly, enough to cause harm to the body
One of the primary reasons why the pancreas may not produce insulin in the right amount or as frequently as it should, is the growth of cancerous cells. Pancreatic cancer is one of the types of cancers affecting the health and vitality of people of all ages.
If you are facing a disease that affects your pancreas, your doctor may suggest surgery. Surgery to remove the pancreas, or parts of the pancreas, is called a pancreatectomy. It can be done using open surgery through one large incision or minimally invasive surgery (through a few small incisions) using laparoscopic surgical instruments. If you’d like to know more about these treatments or wish to schedule surgery, speak to a member of our team at NJ Advanced Surgical Solutions.
TWO TYPES OF TUMORS
Cancerous tumors develop in two ways. They can either develop and stop growing or they can develop and continue to grow, infecting the nearby tissues and cells. The type of tumors that grow and then stop growing are called benign tumors. These types of tumors are in reality non-cancerous (to qualify as cancer, the tumor has to be malignant .i.e. actively grow and spread across the body).
Medical research shows that 80% of the tumors on the pancreas are non-cancerous (benign) and only 20% of the tumors are cancerous (malignant). These non-cancerous tumors often do not pose any grave danger to people that have them. These types of tumors develop due to:
- Poor lifestyle choices
- Injury or infection
- Exposure to chemicals or radiation
THINGS YOU SHOULD CONSIDER
Despite the fact that 80% of tumors are benign, it isn’t right to assume that these tumors are completely harmless. Sometimes, the position of the benign tumor can be so precarious that it affects the health and well-being of other parts of the body.
For example, if the benign tumor on the pancreas sits on top of an important nerve or tissue, this may affect the ability of the pancreas to function correctly. Things like insulin production or blood flow to the pancreas may be disturbed, resulting in the pancreas and the associated organs becoming adversely affected.
This is why surgery is important in the removal of benign tumors in the pancreas. In medical parlance, this surgery is called the pancreatectomy (non-cancerous). The staff at NJ Advanced Surgical Solutions, led by Dr. Prokurat, have immense experience working on non-cancerous pancreatic tumors. You can reach out to us for treatment.
Before a pancreatectomy is actually performed, the doctor needs to identify whether your tumor is benign or malignant. This is what the doctor will try to understand during the first consultation. A section of the tumor is sent down to the lab, where tests are administered to identify whether it is precancerous or not.
IF THE TUMOR IS BENIGN
If the tumor is benign, the doctor will suggest a surgical resection. This resection can be performed either through an open surgery or through a laparoscopic surgery. In the open surgery, the doctor will make a large incision on the area of the skin, underneath which the pancreas is located. This incision may be 5-6 inches in length. The doctor will then shift the underlying muscles and tissues surrounding the pancreas and reach down into the body to perform the surgery. This type of surgery can be quite physically demanding for the body.
ADDRESSING CONCERNS ABOUT TRADITIONAL SURGERY METHODS
If you feel the physical taxation of traditional pancreatic surgery is not right for you, you can choose laparoscopic surgery, where the doctor will only make a tiny incision on the body and use telescopic instruments to perform the surgery robotically. A telescopic camera inserted into the body gives complete visualization into the surgical field.
At NJ Advanced Surgical Solutions, we implement the latest in laparoscopic technology – the da Vinci® Surgical System. This particular technology affords the most expansive 3D view, the highest degree of flexibility, amazing control and complete accuracy of movement, making it the safest option for your treatment.
PROCEDURE AND RECOVERY
During the surgery, the doctor will use the da Vinci® surgical instruments to resect the non-cancerous tumors. Here, either the full pancreas or a part of the pancreas may be removed, as part of the treatment, depending on your condition.
After the surgery, you will be prescribed a specific diet to ensure that your stomach, intestines and pancreas aren’t stressed. Pain medication will also be prescribed to you. Be sure to follow the doctor’s instructions and visit for check-ups as directed.
POST-OP INSULIN SUPPLEMENTATION
It is also important to note that you may need to take external insulin supplements later. The pancreas being responsible for the production of insulin, may need external help if it has been partially removed. Be sure to take the doctor’s advice regarding this. You can call our team regarding any queries that you may have.