Also known as: pancreatectomy


At The London Clinic we provide a private pancreatitis treatment service. One of our world renowned specialists will see you at our comfortable state-of-the-art clinic near Harley Street. Why wait? Start your treatment journey today.

What is pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis causes upper abdominal pain that can be acute (short term) or chronic (ongoing). 

It usually causes a sharp stabbing pain, just under your ribs, that gets worse when you lie down. The pain can be severe and make you feel nauseous. 

You may have a high temperature and racing heartbeat (tachycardia), which may be a sign of severe acute pancreatitis that needs immediate medical attention.

At The London Clinic our team of highly experienced gastroenterologists and endoscopists will diagnose and treat your pancreatitis at our private state-of-the-art Endoscopy Unit near Harley Street.

Our specialist care team will monitor you closely to ensure no complications arise and you recover as smoothly as possible.

At The London Clinic we offer the latest treatments for recovery from and management of inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis).

What causes pancreatitis? 

Your pancreas is a gland around 15cm long that lies behind your stomach. It helps you to digest food and regulate your blood sugar. 

It contains digestive enzymes that it releases into your small intestine to break down your food. Sometimes these enzymes get released inside the pancreas causing severe pain and swelling (pancreatitis).

There are several reasons this can happen, including:

  • Blockages in the biliary ducts from gallstones, tumours, scarring
  • Heavy drinking
  • Obesity
  • Diabetes
  • Infection
  • Injury
  • Medications
  • Cystic fibrosis
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Family history
  • Autoimmune pancreatitis

How is pancreatitis diagnosed?

At The London Clinic your gastroenterologist will make a diagnosis of pancreatitis based on your symptoms, medical history and some tests including:

  • Blood test
  • CT scan
  • MRCP scan
  • Endoscopic ultrasound

If you have acute severe pancreatitis it’s important to seek immediate medical help. If left untreated it can lead to organ failure which can be fatal. 

How is pancreatitis treated at The London Clinic?

Depending on your test results and the severity of your pancreatitis, your treatment may include: 

  • Antibiotics to eliminate any infection
  • Pain medication
  • Diet and lifestyle changes
  • Avoidance of alcohol and cigarettes
  • Counselling
  • Weight management
  • Diabetes management
  • Taking digestive enzymes in a capsule or tablet
  • Endoscopic or keyhole surgery

If you have severe acute pancreatitis we may admit you to our intensive care ward to receive intravenous fluids to prevent dehydration, and ventilation to increase your oxygen intake.

Our care team always works as one to give you the best care possible.

Minimally invasive surgery for pancreatitis at The London Clinic

If your pancreatitis is due to a blockage in your pancreatic duct your gastroenterologist may suggest you have an endoscopic procedure to correct it. 

An Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) or SpyGlass cholangioscopy procedure takes about thirty minutes under a general anaesthetic. 

It allows your gastroenterologist to widen the duct using a balloon stent and remove any blockages such as stones. Your gastroenterologist will carefully remove any stones using an electrohydraulic lithotripsy (EHL) probe.

If your gastroenterologist diagnoses pseudocysts (sacs of fluid) or necrotising pancreatitis, a severe form of acute pancreatitis, they may suggest an ERCP endoscopy or SpyGlass cholangioscopy.

This will help to drain the cysts and remove any infected or necrosed (dead) tissue. In rare instances your gastroenterologist may need to remove your entire pancreas (pancreatectomy) or gallbladder (cholecystectomy) if it’s causing your pancreatitis. 

If you need a pancreatectomy you may have the option to undergo an islet transplantation which involves your gastroenterologist transplanting cells from a healthy donor pancreas to your liver. This reduces your chance of developing diabetes after your pancreatectomy. 

At The London Clinic we aim to deliver the best treatment tailored to suit your needs, so that you make the best recovery possible.

How long does it take to recover from pancreatitis? 

Recovery from mild acute pancreatitis normally takes around a week. If you have severe acute pancreatitis due to complications, like gallstones or necrotising infected tissue, you may need surgery which can take longer to recover from.

If you have chronic pancreatitis your specialist and care team will offer you a treatment plan to help minimise the pain so that you can manage your symptoms and enjoy your day-to-day life with as little discomfort as possible. 

At The London Clinic we have a multidisciplinary care team who can support you in making lifestyle changes. 

This includes managing your alcohol intake, or giving up smoking, so that you feel better in the long run.

We also have a team of nutritionists who can support you to make any dietary changes that can improve your symptoms long term.

What are the side effects of pancreatitis treatment?

The treatments we offer for pancreatitis are the most up to date and holistic available. 

We aim to avoid surgery where possible, but if you do need surgery we use the latest minimally invasive endoscopic and keyhole procedures which allow for a faster recovery with better outcomes. 

At The London Clinic we are always here to talk to you and put your mind at rest if you have any worries.

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