Complex Liver and Pancreatic Surgeries

Tumours growing on the liver. Cancer of the pancreas or gallbladder. These are complex conditions that require specialized and sophisticated care.

Dr. Ved Tandan and Dr. Bonnie Shum

Dr. Ved Tandan and Dr. Bonnie Shum

Complex hepatobiliary and pancreatic (HPB) surgeries are a specialty at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre. “Hepatobiliary” refers to the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts and pancreas, which aid in digestion.

“One of our most common surgeries is the removal of tumours in the head of the pancreas,” explains Dr. Ved Tandan, Head of General Surgery at Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre. “This type of surgery is extremely complicated and requires hours because the bowel, pancreas, bile duct and gallbladder are all connected.”

HPB surgeons like Dr. Tandan work closely with the Interventional Radiology (IR) team, as patients undergo scans through IR to provide initial imaging for diagnosis and treatment planning. They also collaborate with pathologists and medical oncologists in deciding the best approach for treatment.

Dr. Tandan is proud that Juravinski Hospital and Cancer Centre is one of Canada’s leaders in liver and pancreatic surgery.

“We are also pioneers in laproscopic liver surgery, which involves incisions only 6 or 7 centimetres in length as opposed to much larger incisions used with conventional surgery,” he says. “This translates into less pain, faster recovery and often a faster return to other needed treatment such as chemotherapy or additional surgery.”

Donor support is vital to the specialized work done by the HPB surgical team.

“It’s vital to our success. We require a great deal of important equipment to perform such complex procedures and we couldn’t do what we do without donor support.”