Prior to a date being set for the Whipple procedure, your medical team will run several tests including blood tests and imaging tests to ensure that the Whipple procedure is the best option for your situation. The will also assess your overall health to ensure that you are able to undergo the surgery. In some cases, your doctor may order additional tests or recommend improving your overall health to reduce risks during the surgery. Some of the recommended changes may include losing weight and quitting smoking. When the Whipple surgery is being performed as a treatment for cancer you will often undergo radiation and chemotherapy prior to your surgery.
Once it has been determined that you are a good candidate for the Whipple procedure your surgeon will speak to you and your family about what you can expect during and after the procedure, inform you of the potential risks, and discuss the quality of life following the procedure.
You should discuss any concerns you may have about the radiation and chemotherapy, the surgery and risks, and the recovery period with your surgeon. Your doctor can also let you know if there are any alternatives to surgery that can be considered.
Prior to being admitted for your surgery you should discuss your hospitalization and recovery with family and friends and let them know that you may require help at home for the first couple of weeks following the procedure. Be sure to have your support structure in place before the surgery so you are not anxious and stressed during the procedure.