Digestive Health

Treatment of chronic pancreatitis

Stanford’s Benign Pancreas Program see more than 200 cases of chronic pancreatitis each year—a patient volume that provides us with the experience to manage a diverse array of cases. Most patients who suffer an attack of pancreatitis or a complication related to their pancreas require hospitalization. This provides the necessary support to minimize pancreatic injury and other related complications.

When a patient requires hospitalization to treat chronic pancreatitis, the Benign Pancreas Program’s Program’s team of specialists offers closely coordinated, comprehensive care that includes determining the cause of the disorder and recommendations for immediate and long term treatment and management of chronic pancreatitis.

While hospitalized, a patient may receive:

Medically Managed Care: The Benign Pancreas Program is committed to improving the quality of life for patients living with chronic pancreatitis. Our collaboration with the renowned Stanford Pain Center helps alleviate the chronic pain associated with this disease. Our focus is on limiting opioid use through adjuvant therapies that include neuro-modulating medications, anti-oxidants, anti-hormonal, and cognitive-behavioral therapy. Additionally, we employ the use of regional spinal blocks as well as acupuncture for pain management.

Therapeutic Endoscopy: Our Therapeutic Endoscopists are highly skilled at performing complex, minimally invasive procedures, including ERCP. These offer our patients excellent outcomes with a rapid recovery period.

Surgery for chronic pancreatitis: Stanford’s renowned pancreatic surgeons are recognized as pioneers in their field for performing innovative procedures that shorten recovery times for patients.

A subset of patients with chronic pancreatitis develop calcified "stones" within the pancreatic duct itself that block the flow of pancreatic juice, causing the patient to suffer pain and progressively lose pancreatic tissue and function. Many of these patients are candidates for a variety of pancreatic operations to remove the stones and "re-plumb" the pancreas to allow unimpeded flow of digestive juice into the bowel. This typically provides significant symptom relief and helps preserve pancreatic tissue and function.

Nutrition Management: We work closely with Nutrition Services to assist chronic pancreatitis patients in achieving maximum nutrition. When a normal diet is resumed, synthetic pancreatic enzymes may be prescribed if the pancreas does not secrete enough of its own. The enzymes should be taken with every meal to help the patient digest food and regain some weight.

People with chronic pancreatitis are strongly advised not to smoke or consume alcoholic beverages, even if the pancreatitis is mild or in the early stages.

Benign Pancreas Program

Stanford’s Benign Pancreas Program has tremendous expertise in treating chronic pancreatitis and the complications that can develop from this disorder. Our clinic is dedicated to the well being of individuals who suffer from pancreatitis and to the advancement of available therapies and protocols that improve patient outcome and quality of life.

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