Whipple Surgery Cost in India

Last Modified: September 30, 2021  |   Created on: February 21, 2019
Cancer Treatment

“The average cost of Whipple’s Surgery in India starts from $7800 while it is $100,000 in US and UK. The cost can be less or more depending on several factors including your medical condition, experience of the surgeon and the type of hospital you choose.


What is Whipple’s procedure?

The Whipple procedure (a Pancreaticoduodenectomy) is an extremely complex surgery in which doctors remove the head of the pancreas, the duodenum (the beginning of the small intestine, the bile duct, and gallbladder.

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Who needs Whipple’s procedure?

The procedure is the most common treatment for pancreatic cancer that has not spread beyond the head of the pancreas. It is also used as a treatment for other tumors and diseases of the pancreas, bile duct, and intestine. 

The Whipple surgery is a very demanding, complex, and high-risk operation but is often the only life-saving option for people with pancreatic cancer.

What types of Whipple surgery are there?

The Whipple surgical procedure can be performed in three different ways.

  • Open Surgery – An open surgery is performed by the surgeon making an incision in the abdomen to access the pancreas.  Open surgery is the most commonly performed and most extensively studied version of Whipple surgery.
  • Laparoscopic Surgery – Laparoscopic surgery is a minimally invasive version of the Whipple procedure.  A small incision is made in the abdomen and special instruments are inserted.  These small instruments include a camera that will send videos to a monitor to guide the surgeon during the procedure.
  • Robotic Surgery – Robotic surgery is a minimally invasive surgery during which surgical tools, attached to a robot, are inserted into small incisions in the abdomen. The surgeon uses video to observe the organs and controls the robotic arms from a console.  The benefit of this form of surgery is that the small robotic arms can access areas and make small adjustments that are not possible with human hands.

While the minimally invasive surgical options come with less risk of blood loss and infection and a quicker recovery time there are also some drawbacks.

Laparoscopic and robotic surgeries both take longer to perform than an open surgery which is harder on the body.  There is also the risk that there will be complications during a minimally invasive procedure that require the surgeon to switch to open surgery to finish the procedure.

Planning for Whipple Surgery?

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.

How can Lyfboat assist you getting Whipple Surgery in India?

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Lyfboat is a free advisory platform; we do not charge any fees from patients. In fact, we negotiate the price that Indian hospitals offer. In some cases we are able to reduce the cost by negotiating upto 20% of what Hospitals generally offer. We advise the best treatment from the top hospital/surgeon at best price.

How do I prepare for the Whipple’s Surgery?

Prior to the day of surgery, you need to be sure your medical team is informed of certain things such as:

  • Discuss any allergies or negative reactions you have had to medications, latex, anesthesia or other medical treatments.
  • Inform the team of all medications you are currently taking including supplements, vitamins, and over-the-counter medications.  Your doctor will tell you which medications you can remain on and which you should stop taking prior to your surgery.
  • Discuss when you should stop eating and drinking before your surgery.  In most cases, the doctor will recommend no food or drink after midnight.

What happens before the Whipple’s Surgery?

On the morning of your procedure, you should arrive at your surgery center at least two hours before your scheduled procedure time. This will give you the time to fill out any necessary paperwork.

You will then be asked to change into a surgical gown and an intravenous line (IV) will be inserted in a vein, typically in the arm, to allow the team to administer medication easily.

You may be given medication to help you relax you while you wait for the procedure and in many cases, an epidural or spinal injection will be given to block the nerve signals to the abdominal wall. This will reduce the pain you experience following the procedure.

What happens during the Whipple surgery?

During the Whipple surgery, a surgical team will work together to perform your surgery. The team will include pancreatic surgeons, anesthesiologists, and surgical nurses.

After the anesthesiologist puts you to sleep, a catheter will be inserted to drain urine while you are asleep. Additional IV lines and monitors will be put in place to monitor and maintain your condition throughout the surgery.

Depending on the version of the surgery you are undergoing the procedure can take from four to twelve hours to perform.  The surgeon will make an incision in the abdomen to gain access to the internal organs.

The size and location of the incision will depend on your particular case and the type of surgery you are having.  

After gaining access to the organs the surgeons will remove the head of the pancreas, the duodenum, the bile duct, and the gallbladder.  In some cases, a portion of the surrounding lymph nodes and stomach are also removed.

After the surgeon has removed all of the necessary tissue he will reconnect the parts of the pancreas, intestines, and stomach so your body can digest food normally.

What happens after the Whipple surgery?

Following the Whipple surgical procedure, you will remain in the surgical unit to recovery. Your medical team will monitor you continuously for signs of complications.

They will slowly increase your diet to build up your tolerance for food. You should start standing and walking shortly after you waking up. 

This will help ensure proper circulation and breathing and help you recover from the anesthesia more quickly.  Most patients spend a week in the hospital before being released to return home.

After being released from the hospital, most patients return home to continue their recovery. If your medical team has concerns, you may be asked to stay near the hospital for a few days for follow-up.

Patients of advanced years or those with major health risks may stay in a rehabilitation center for a while before returning home.  You can expect to resume your normal activities about six weeks after returning home.

Frequently asked Questions (FAQs) about Whipple Surgery in India

Q. How Long Will It Take Me To Recover From Whipple Procedure Surgery? How Is The Recovery After The Whipple Procedure?

Most people return to their normal schedule and activity level in about six weeks after the procedure.

Q. What are the risks of Whipple’s procedure surgery?

The Whipple surgical procedure is a technically complex operation that comes with several risks. Some of these risks include:

  • Bleeding at the incision site
  • Infection at the incision site or inside the abdomen
  • Delay in the stomach emptying itself of food making it difficult to eat temporarily.
  • Leakage of the bile duct or pancreas
  • Diabetes that may be either temporary or permanent

Q. What is the survival rate following Whipple surgery in India?

The long-term survival rate following the Whipple procedure depends on a number of factors including age, pre-existing health, and the type of disease or cancer being treated. 

For cancer and tumors in the pancreas, Whipple surgery is the only cure. On average, the five-year survival rate is 20%.  The five-year survival rate increases to 40% if the cancer is discovered and treated before it spreads to the lymph nodes and nearby tissue.

Q. Are there alternatives to Whipple’s surgical procedure?

There are other surgical options that can be considered to treat diseases and cancers of the pancreas. Whether you are a candidate for these procedures depends on a number of factors.

Speak to your medical professional about your options and seek a second opinion if you feel unsure about your decision.  Some of the alternate options include:

  • Distal Pancreatectomy – If the tumor is located on the left side of the pancreas, surgeons can remove the body and tail on the left side of the pancreas.  In some cases, the spleen will need to be removed as well.
  • Total Pancreatectomy – This procedure involves the complete removal of the pancreas.  While you can live a normal life without your pancreas, enzyme replacement therapy will be needed for the rest of your life.
  • Blood Vessel Surgery – Some patients are not eligible for Whipple surgery because the tumors have spread to nearby blood vessels.  There are a few surgeons that specialize in removing tumors from blood vessels and recreating the blood vessel.

Q. Why consider India for the Whipple surgery?

India has some of the best-equipped hospitals in the world. The facilities are held to exacting standards of cleanliness and maintenance.  The doctors, nurses and supporting staff are among the most experienced and best-trained professionals in the field and equal or superior to their colleagues in the west.

One of the primary reasons so many people travel to India for this medical procedure is the financial savings. The Whipple procedure in India is significantly lower than in western countries and unlike the US and UK packages that are all inclusive are available reducing the risk of hidden and unexpected costs.

Dr. Suneet Singh

Written By Dr. Suneet Singh

Dr. Suneet is a doctor-turned-Hospital Administrator with a rich 12 years plus multi-faceted experience in the field of operations management, Corporate and Public Health Administration. Formerly a practicing doctor, Dr. Suneet holds a post-graduate degree in Hospital and Healthcare management from one of the country's esteemed Tata Institute of Social Sciences (TISS)

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