Pancreatic cancer surgery

Leaders in minimally-invasive surgical techniques

Our pancreatic cancer surgery team is Michigan’s most experienced. It is one of many high-volume centers in the country, offering patients safer and broader treatment options in a personalized approach from an experienced, multi-disciplinary team.

Our physicians are leaders in pancreatic cancer surgery, having performed hundreds of pancreas operations. We rank in the top percentile of all pancreatic cancer surgery programs in the country for lower mortality and complication rates. 

And we are leaders in new minimally invasive techniques to treat cancer with precise accuracy when possible. 

Our team will work with you to determine if surgery will be a part of your treatment plan, based on recommendations from our tumor board.

If surgery is recommended, we will outline what to expect during your surgery, and provide detailed instructions to help you prepare for -- and successfully recover from -- your procedure.


Our team was the first in Michigan with the new NanoKnife® system to destroy pancreatic tumors with fewer side effects to vital, adjacent organs. This technique uses a technology called irreversible electroporation to send electrical pulses through small needles placed into a tumor. This cause cell lysis, killing cancer cells while avoiding damage to the surrounding area of the pancreas.

Our surgeons use NanoKnife to treat inoperable pancreatic tumors and prevent them from growing again. These tumors may be too close to vital blood vessels or ducts in the pancreas to safely perform traditional surgery.

Potentially curative surgery

If your pre-operative tests indicate you have a tumor that has not spread beyond the pancreas, and meet the health requirements to undergo a significant operation, you may be a candidate for potentially curative surgery. 

Depending on the location of your tumor, your surgeon may offer you one of these surgical options: 

  • Pancreaticoduodenecomy (also known as Whipple surgery) is one type of potentially life-saving procedure for patients whose tumors can be removed. This procedure involves removing the tumor from the head of the pancreas, along with a portion of stomach, small intestine and bile duct.
  • Pancreatectomy and distal pancreatectomy, are surgical options for patients whose tumor is in the body (or tail) of the pancreas. These procedures involve the surgical removal of all or part of the pancreas

Our surgeons can perform these procedures with minimally invasive techniques, such as a laparoscopic or robotic-assisted surgeries in certain cases. 

Based on your pre-operative tests and imaging, patients may be offered different treatment options to shrink the tumor as much as possible, including chemotherapy, radiation, or a combination of both. 

At the time of surgery, a keyhole incision is made to determine whether cancer has spread to any nearby organs. If your cancer has not spread, your surgeon will proceed with surgery.

Palliative surgery 

If surgery is not an option, we offer patients palliative procedures and care to relieve or other health issues, such as digestive complications arising from tumors. 

Connect with our Cancer Team 24/7

Call us at (888) 777-4167