Pancreatic Cancer Surgery

We have a long history of being at the forefront of surgical care for pancreatic cancer. In fact, the first pancreatic duodenectomy, or Whipple procedure (surgical removal of the "head" of the pancreas, as well as the duodenum, gallbladder, and part of the common bile duct), was performed at the University of Chicago in 1937.

Experienced Surgeons

Research shows that surgeons who have performed a high number of pancreatic surgeries get better results.

Our experience in this area draws a large volume of pancreatic cancer patients. The University of Chicago Comprehensive Cancer Center is one of the Midwest's fastest-growing destinations for the surgical treatment of GI cancers. "We know that hospital volume correlates with better outcomes," says Mitchell Posner, MD, chief of surgical oncology. Dr. Posner is a nationally known expert in pancreatic cancer surgery, with many years of experience performing the Whipple procedure and other complex surgeries.

A landmark study published in the New England Journal of Medicine in 2002 reported that hospitals that perform a high volume of pancreatic resections achieve, on average, a 3.8 percent mortality rate compared to hospitals that do very few pancreatic resections, which may report as much as a 16.3 percent mortality rate. At the University of Chicago, the rate of complications and death for the Whipple procedure is 1 to 2 percent, which is equivalent to--and in many cases better--than other large academic medical centers.