What is an operation for acute pancreatitis?

The procedure will involve the removal of gangrene and infection from the pancreas gland which may require partial removal of the gland itself. Further operations may be needed to remove all the diseased tissue, which may be over a 2-3 week period.


This procedure will require an anaesthetic.

What are the risks of this specific procedure?
There are risks and complications with this procedure.
They include but are not limited to the following:

General risks:

  • Infection can occur, requiring antibiotics and further treatment.
  • Bleeding could occur and may require a return to the operating room. Bleeding is more common if you have been taking blood thinning drugs such as Warfarin, Asprin, Clopidogrel (Plavix or Iscover) or Dipyridamole (Persantin or Asasantin).
  • Small areas of the lung can collapse, increasing the risk of chest infection. This may need antibiotics and physiotherapy.
  • Increased risk in obese people of wound infection, chest infection, heart and lung complications, and thrombosis.
  • Heart attack or stroke could occur due to the strain on the heart.
  • Blood clot in the leg (DVT) causing pain and swelling. In rare cases, part of the clot may break off and go to the lungs.
  • Death as a result of this procedure is possible

Specific risks:

  • Pancreatitis can be a life threatening condition.
  • Formation of pancreatic fistula with pancreatic juice leaking onto abdominal wall. This may take some weeks to seal across and may cause skin irritation.
  • The pancreatic tissue and surrounds may be severely damaged and become dead tissue, and extensive tissue removal may be necessary.
  • Patient may develop a hernia and may require skin grafting to close the abdomen. This may cause scarring and permanent disfigurement.
  • Damage of the bowel may occur which may cause leakage of bowel fluid. This may require further surgery.
  • The abdominal wound may have to be left open to allow adequate drainage.
  • Deep bleeding in the abdominal cavity could occur and this may need fluid replacement or further surgery.
  • Infections such as pus collections can occur in the abdominal cavity. This may need surgical drainage.
  • The bowel movement may be paralyzed or blocked after surgery and this may cause building up of fluid in the bowel with distention of the abdomen and vomiting. Further treatment may be necessary for this.
  • A weakness can occur in the wound with complete or incomplete, bursting of the wound in the short term, or a hernia in the long term. This may require further surgery.
  • In some people healing of the wound may be abnormal and the wound can be thickened and red and the wound may be painful.
  • Adhesions (bands of scar tissue) may form and cause bowel obstruction. This can be a short term or a long term complication and may need further surgery.
  • Recurrent severe pain can occur if the acute problem goes into a chronic phase.
  • Long term problems can occur due to damage to the pancreas, e.g. diabetes mellitus, mal absorption of essential nutrients.