The Whipple procedure can cure localized pancreatic cancer but it is complex and has many complications and a significant readmission rate to treat complications. In a recent review of experience at Johns Hopkins, readmission rates have been decreasing as surgeons become more experienced with this operation. When early and late complications were compared, patients with early complications were likelier to be readmitted for delayed gastric emptying (12% vs. 4%; P<0.01), intra-abdominal abscess (17% vs. 4%; P<0.0001) and wound infections (6% vs.1%; P< 0.02). Conversely, the indication for those readmitted more than one year after surgery was more likely to be obstructive jaundice (17% vs. 4%; P<0.0001), metastatic disease (12% vs. 5%; P< 0.0001) or incisional hernias (12% vs. 3%; P<0.0001). Other reports show similar results.
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