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I have been operated on in the Heidelberg Surgery Department

What happens after the operation

After your operation, we help you quickly return to a normal daily routine - with gentle training, high-quality care and effective pain therapy.
Surgeons, anesthesiologists and nurses work closely together on all these tasks. In this way, we are convinced that we can guarantee you comprehensive therapy.

The recovery process after pancreas surgery and the further procedure depend on the type of surgery, the underlying disease treated and your general state of health. However, below are some general tips and considerations. Also, please note that each surgery and recovery process is unique and the information provided here is only general in nature. Be sure to contact your medical team to ask questions and discuss your specific concerns. We will provide you with comprehensive information and support based on your individual circumstances.

After surgery, you will usually spend some time in the hospital for monitoring (recovery) and rest. In the recovery unit, your medical team will closely monitor your vital signs, including temperature, heart rate, blood pressure and oxygen levels. In addition, your pancreatic function and overall recovery progress will be assessed daily. The length of your hospital stay will depend on the complexity of the procedure and your individual progress.

You may experience pain after surgery, and your medical team will provide you with appropriate pain medications to relieve your discomfort. It is important that you follow the instructions on dosage and when to take them.

The incision at the surgical site must be kept clean and dry. On the ward, wound care is provided by our trained nursing staff. At home, please follow specific guidelines from your medical care for dressing changes or wound care.

Depending on the extent of your surgery and underlying condition, you may be advised to follow a specific diet or change your diet. Your healthcare provider or a dietitian can inform you about what you should eat and any restrictions or recommendations to support your recovery.

In the beginning, you should rest and avoid strenuous activities. However, during your recovery, your medical team will help you gradually increase your activity level. Physical therapy or rehabilitation may be recommended to support your recovery.

What next?

Patients who have had part or even all of their pancreas removed may experience reduced pancreatic function, depending on the extent of the removal. The following two problems are in the foreground:

  • too few pancreatic enzymes (leads to digestive problems)
  • too little insulin (leads to high blood sugar)

These deficiencies can be compensated with appropriate medication.

Enzyme preparations with all meals

Today there are preparations on the market that replace the pancreas' own enzymes (e.g. Kreon). These enzyme preparations must be taken with all main meals and also with snacks. The necessary dosage varies from patient to patient and depends on the nutritional composition and the patient's symptoms. The decisive factor is that a feeling of fullness and diarrhea with fat deposits disappear under this therapy. Typically, more capsules need to be taken at main meals than at snacks.

It is important that the pancreatic enzymes come into contact with food so that they can fulfill their effect. Thus, between 6-12 capsules are needed per day. However, the number can also be significantly higher or lower, depending on the remaining function of the pancreas and the preparation, which is offered in very different enzyme contents.

These preparations are usually very well tolerated and have practically no side effects. Very rarely, an allergic reaction may occur.

Individual blood glucose therapy

In case of high blood glucose levels after pancreatic disease or surgery, it is necessary to perform appropriate blood glucose therapy. Initially, and when blood glucose levels are not greatly elevated, this can be done with the help of adjusted food intake and tablets that influence glucose levels. However, due to the loss of insulin-producing cells in the pancreas, insulin treatment usually becomes necessary.

Today, a wide variety of insulin types are available for insulin treatment, allowing therapy to be very individualized. Special attention can be paid to dietary habits.

The goal of every therapy is personal well-being and a good adjustment of the blood glucose level. In this way, serious consequential damage in the near and distant future can be avoided. Especially in the initial phase, close supervision by the family doctor or specialist is necessary.

What now?

It is possible that the spleen had to be removed as part of a pancreas operation. It is possible to live without a spleen.

The spleen plays a role in the human immune system. Without a spleen, one is more susceptible to bacterial and other infections. Certain bacterial diseases can become life-threatening in these people. In order to protect patients from this, they should receive appropriate vaccination after surgery. Pneumococcal infection and vaccination against this disease should be mentioned here in particular. According to current guidelines, these vaccinations must be repeated after about 3 to 5 years. Every patient should visit his family doctor when an infection and fever occur and draw his attention to the fact that he no longer has a spleen. He will then decide whether antibiotic therapy is necessary.

After splenectomy, there may be an increase in blood platelets (thrombocytes). It is a good idea to check these regularly. If the platelet count in the blood is too high, thrombosis may occur. If the level is too high, your doctor will prescribe temporary medication to reduce the risk of thrombosis.

After you are discharged from the hospital, you will probably need to schedule regular follow-up appointments with your healthcare provider. At these appointments, we can assess your progress, monitor your healing and make adjustments to your treatment plan as needed. To do this, we ask that you attend regular appointments at the Pancreas Consultation Center . Here, all further necessary examinations and therapies are coordinated and we clarify in an interdisciplinary manner with our colleagues in diagnostic radiology whether you have benign or malignant diseases of the pancreas. We discuss therapy options and check what is possible for you. In addition, together with our colleagues in endocrinology, we will provide you with follow-up care after tumor surgery (including imaging, tumor marker determination, and metabolic monitoring).

Caution: Before a planned treatment for chronicpancreatitis or pancreatic tumors, it may be advisable to obtain a second medical opinion to ensure that you make the right decision. Please also make an appointment for this in the pancreas consultation hour.

Tel:: +49 6221 56 7807

You may need to take medications to relieve pain, prevent infections, support pancreatic function, or control underlying conditions. It is important that you follow the instructions and advice of your healthcare provider regarding the use, dosage, and duration of medications.