Jefferson Health

Whipple & Mini-Whipple Procedures

If you are diagnosed with tumors in your pancreas or bile duct, your Jefferson physician may recommend a Whipple or Mini-Whipple procedure.

What Does the Whipple Procedure Involve?

This surgery involves removing the head of the pancreas and other portions of the biliary tract, including the gallbladder, duodenum and part of the bile duct. In some instances, your surgeon may also need to remove part of your stomach.

Once the damaged organs are removed, the remaining bile duct and pancreas are reconnected to the small bowel.

What Does the Mini-Whipple Procedure Involve?

Whenever possible, Jefferson surgeons use an innovative procedure called a mini-Whipple (pylorus preserving). A mini-Whipple is a type of surgery used to treat pancreatic cancer when the tumor is located in the head of the pancreas. Unlike the classic Whipple procedure in which the lower part of the stomach, all of the duodenum and the head of the pancreas are removed, this modified resection preserves the entire stomach, the pylorus and several centimeters of the upper duodenum.

The procedure is performed by internationally known pancreas specialist and chair of surgery Charles J. Yeo, MD, FACS, who also developed the mini-Whipple. Dr. Yeo has performed more than 1,130 Whipple procedures.

For patients, there are no oncologic downsides to the mini-Whipple, but there are plenty of upsides, including preservation of the entire stomach and pylorus, a shorter hospital stay and fewer complications.

Why Choose Jefferson for Liver Disease Treatment in Philadelphia?

At Jefferson, we take a comprehensive approach to liver, biliary and pancreas diseases. Our world-class pancreas surgeons are backed by gastroenterologists and hepatologists from the well-regarded Jefferson Digestive Health Institute. Jefferson interventional radiologists and other specialists will help bring you advanced, innovative treatments that improve outcomes and enhance your quality of life.