The Whipple procedure has been used increasingly over the last ten years in treating pain and other complications of chronic pancreatitis. Best known for its use in the treatment of pancreatic cancer, the procedure has a success rate of 70 - 80 percent in treating chronic pancreatitis. This operation involves removing the head of the pancreas that shares its blood supply with the first part of the small intestine. The first part of the small intestine is also removed along with the gallbladder and part of the bile duct. Things are put back together by connecting the small intestine to the remaining pancreas, the bile duct, and the stomach. When used in the treatment of cancer, the Whipple operation has a complication rate of 30 - 40 percent and a mortality rate of less than two percent. The complication and mortality rate may be similar or lower in its treatment for chronic pancreatitis depending on the severity of the pancreatitis and the medical condition of the patient.
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