ancreas is an organ situated in the upper part of the abdomen behind the stomach. It produces digestive enzymes to help in digestion of food products and also produces insulin which is essential for sugar control. Pancreatic juices are secreted in the intestines through the main pancreatic duct. The main pancreatic duct joins the common bile duct to open into the duodenum.

The common diseases associated with pancreas are:

1. Pancreatitis (acute and chronic) and 2. Pancreatic tumours (Benign and malignant).

Acute pancreatitis is inflammation and swelling of the pancreatic gland. Here the digestive enzymes secreted by the pancreas to digest food products start damaging own organs. The common causes for acute pancreatitis are a) gall bladder stones and b)alcohol. Fortunately majority of these cases are mild pancreatitis and resolve with conservative treatment. Fifteen to twenty percent of these patients have severe acute pancreatitis which may sometimes be even life threatening.

Surgery may be required for complications of acute pancreatitis like pseudocyst, bleeding or severe infection. Chronic pancreatits is associated with diabetes and malabsorption. These patients also require surgery in case of severe pain or due to any complication of pancreatitis.
Pancreatic tumours are seen in the head of pancreas more often (75%). The patients usually develop obstructive jaundice along with itching and clay coloured stools. These patients benefit from surgery, if diagnosed and treated early. They require a major operation called Whippple's operation and its various modifications. This is an operation done by few surgeons especially those interested in this field. The operation usually takes 4-6 hours. The results and outcome of these procedures have gradually improved in specialized units. This is mainly due to the experience and modern aggressive intensive care using latest technical gadgets. Pancreatic tumours affecting the body and tail of pancreas are not very common and are often detected late due to minimal symptoms.