While modern medicine and technology make successful pancreas surgery more possible now than ever before, it is important for patients to understand that pancreatectomy, Whipple surgery, and other pancreas procedures are still complex, involved, and require a fairly extensive recovery period. The highly acclaimed team of experts at Arizona Premier Surgery is experienced in even the most difficult cases and is committed to giving patients the highest level of treatment and care possible before, during, and after pancreas surgery in Gilbert, Chandler, or Scottsdale, AZ. Learn more about what to expect after your pancreas surgery, including how long recovery may take.

Who needs pancreas surgery?

Pancreas surgery can be extremely beneficial, and sometimes even a life-saving step, for patients suffering from a wide variety of pancreas and GI-related conditions, including:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pancreatic tumor
  • Pancreatic cyst
  • Certain bowel or duodenal conditions
  • Bile duct cancer
  • Pancreatic trauma

Depending on the patient’s condition, he or she may require a pancreatectomy, partial removal of the pancreas, Whipple procedure, or another type of pancreas surgery. In many cases, pancreatic surgery involves the removal of part or all of the pancreas, pancreatic tumors, and surrounding organs or structures, such as the bowel or duodenum.

How long is recovery after pancreas surgery?

The details and length of pancreas surgery recovery will depend heavily on the patient’s condition, the type of pancreas surgery performed, the patient’s overall health, and other factors. In general, patients can typically expect to spend several nights in the hospital or ICU after pancreas surgery for close monitoring.

Once patients have been released home to begin the remainder of their recovery, it is advised to have a trusted friend or loved one lined up to help around the clock for the first several days or weeks. Patients should devote the first portion of their recovery primarily to rest, though it is important to engage in light walks around the house to promote healthy circulation and to begin rebuilding their strength. Heavy lifting, straining, and exercise should also be paused for up to 6 – 8 weeks, or until your surgeon has deemed these activities safe and appropriate.

For most patients, full recovery after pancreas surgery takes about 1 – 3 months. During this time, patients will need to attend all of their follow-up appointments and take care to adjust their eating habits and other routines to allow their healing digestive tract time to acclimate. Additionally, patients will likely need to have regular follow-up monitoring and take certain medications, including insulin, for the remainder of their lifetime.

Before and after your pancreas surgery, your knowledgeable provider at Arizona Premier Surgery will provide you with a comprehensive list of pancreas aftercare instructions, both orally and in writing, to ensure you are well prepared for your recovery period.

When can I go back to work after pancreas surgery?

On average, patients typically require about one month off of work after pancreatectomy, Whipple surgery, or another pancreas procedure. This may vary based on your overall health, the physical demands of your job, and other individual factors.

Don’t rush your recovery after pancreas surgery in Phoenix, AZ

No one loves the idea of downtime after surgery, but allowing your body plenty of time to heal and recover is essential for your long-term health after pancreas removal. To learn more about the life-saving potential of advanced pancreas surgery in the Greater Phoenix area, call any of our convenient Arizona Premier Surgery locations in Gilbert, Scottsdale, and Chandler, AZ to schedule your one-on-one consultation with one of our experienced pancreatic surgeons today.