05

May

Excellent Medical Care vs. Average: "Experience" Is The Key To Successful Surgical Treatment of Pancreatic Cancer

Field of Medicine: General Surgery

By Nick Rees


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Shorter Procedures.  Fewer Complications.  Quicker Recoveries.  

The Whipple Procedure, considered one of the most complex surgical procedures in all of medicine, is an intra-abdominal canker procedure that is credited to Dr. Allen Whipple.

Dr. Malcolm Bilimoria, MD, selected as a Chicago Top Doctor by TopTierMD as a top rated pancreatic surgeon in Chicago, is an expert in the Whipple procedure.

Dr. Bilimoria, a surgeon and director of the Illinois Center for Pancreatic and Hepatobiliary Diseases at Northwest Community Hospital in Arlington Heights IL, said he was initially drawn to surgical oncology because of the courage he saw in cancer patients.  He chose pancreas surgery in particular because of thecomplexity of surgery.. The Whipple procedure, Dr. Bilimoria said, can increase survival and offers a real chance at a cure for many Pancreatic Cancer patients.

Dr. Bilimoria stressed the importance of seeking a surgeon who is experienced with the difficult procedure.

Many consumers don't understand the difference between "excellent" medical care and "average" medical care.  They assume that because a particular hospital has a strong brand name, that that is where the best care is available.   “What patients need to know is that there are certain surgical procedures where high volume makes a tremendous difference," Dr. Bilimoria said. "Specifically, surgeries like the Whipple procedure, where surgeons who are high volume and institutions that are high volume centers can perform the surgery with shorter hospital stays, fewer complications and better survival, and this is very, very important to know."

"Some patients will be referred to surgeons who may just do one Whipple a year or maybe one every other year; certainly, those are not considered high volume centers.  High volume centers could offer much more to the patients than these lower volume centers can.”

Dr. Bilimoria, a surgical oncologist specializing in pancreatic and hepatobiliary surgeries is one of Chicago's most experienced, having averaged 50 to 75 Whipple surgeries per year for the past 10 years.

“Nowadays, nationwide, the Whipple procedure takes anywhere from seven to nine hours to do,” Dr. Bilimoria said. “In my hands, here at the Illinois Center for Pancreatic and Hepatobiliary Diseases at Northwest Community Hospital, we are doing these operations routinely in four hours. That is not because we are cutting corners, but because this is essentially all that we are doing, and we are doing them in a high volume which allows us to have a certain level of expertise.”

Dr. Bilimoria also stressed that, nationwide, patients spend as much as 14 to 17 days in the hospital, whereas his patients' average stay is only about a week.

“When these procedures are completed here at Northwest Community Hospital, it is certainly not amateur hour and it makes things go much more smoothly when we had the experience of surgery, nursing, anesthesia, critical care, all of these combined together to allow for the patient to get out of the hospital in an expedient manner,” Dr. Bilimoria said.

Dr. Malcolm Bilimoria, MD, was selected by TopTierMD as a Chicago Top Doctor and is considered Best in Pancreatic Surgery and the Whipple Procedure in Chicago.  He specializes in Hepatobiliary Disease, Gastrointestinal Surgery and the Whipple Procedure.

 

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