When performed by an experienced, qualified surgeon, the success rate of the Whipple operation is 96 percent, says the USC Center for Pancreatic and Biliary Diseases. The success rate may reach 99 percent in large medical facilities that perform many of these operations each year, notes WebMD.
The surgeon's level of experience and familiarity with the procedure are the biggest factors in determining the operation's success rate, says the American Cancer Society. Fatality rates for the Whipple procedure can reach 15 percent when performed in smaller hospitals or by less experienced surgeons. The Society advises potential patients to look for medical centers that perform at least 15 Whipple operations every year.