‘Whipple surgery’ got its name from Mr. Allan Whipple, the man who first described it in 1930. This type of a surgery is done as part of the treatment process in case of diseases such as cancer of the pancreas, cancer of the ampulla of Vater, duodenal cancer, and cholangiocarcinoma. It is also done in patients having benign tumors in the head of the pancreas or in those suffering from chronic pancreatitis.
There are no specific foods, which are to be avoided after the surgery; but in most of the cases, as the head or a part of pancreas is removed, there is a risk of developing diabetes.Hence, an individualized diet under the guidance of professionals is very important. After the surgery, when the patient starts tolerating sips of water, a liquid diet should gradually be introduced. Calorie and nutrient dense fluids are very essential at this stage to avoid nausea, fatigue, and lightheadedness.
When starting off with solid foods, a low fat diet is advisable. Protein and energy rich foods and drinks usually help a patient to restore his strength and weight. High fat, fried, and greasy foods should be avoided and fat intake should be limited to 40 to 60 grams per day. Small frequent meals after every two to three hours are recommended instead of large infrequent meals. These prevent bloating and a feeling of fullness. Small meals are easily digestible too.
It is advisable to have first class quality proteins like egg whites, chicken, and skimmed milk or its products. For vitamins and minerals, fruits and vegetables must be made an essential part of the diet. Multivitamin supplements can be taken under the guidance of a physician. Alcoholic beverages are best avoided. Concentrated simple sugars should be avoided if symptoms like polyurea, abdominal pain, nausea, vomiting, or diarrhea are observed.
Very often there is a loss of or an altered sense of taste. To stimulate them, one can eat citrus fruits, grapefruit, pineapple, or strongly flavored foodstuffs. If anemia is observed in such patients, vitamin B12 supplements can play an important role in treating the condition. Keeping in mind that after any gastrointestinal surgery, there will be some problems, one should try to eat a balanced, nutritious diet to hasten the process of healing and keep life going.