Stanford’s Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary (HPB) surgeons have specialty-training and focused expertise in the care of tumors of the liver, pancreas, and bile duct, as well as non-cancerous conditions such as pancreatitis and complex gallbladder and bile duct disorders. The team performs a high volume of laparoscopic and robotic HPB resections, including complex operations such as major liver resection (hepatectomy) and the Whipple pancreaticoduodenectomy. Many tumors that are resected via traditional open surgery at other hospitals can be removed via these minimally invasive techniques by the Stanford HPB team, resulting in less discomfort and faster recovery. They have nationally and internationally recognized expertise in the field, and are thus leaders internationally in the training of surgeons to perform these highly technically demanding operations. The HPB surgeons at Stanford routinely are able to tackle tumors that have been deemed “unresectable” elsewhere, using innovative approaches and complex vascular and anatomic reconstruction to allow tumors to be removed while protecting vital anatomy and post-operative quality of life. As a result of their high volume and vast experience, the Stanford HPB team has outstanding outcomes when compared to similar academic centers. The Stanford HPB surgeons lead the specialized Hepatobiliary Tumor Board within the Stanford Cancer Institute, partnering with medical oncologists, radiation oncologists, interventional radiologists to map the individualized multidisciplinary treatment plans.
HPB Physician Assistants
Physician Assistant IV, GI Oncology
Kristan Wheeler is a physician assistant with over 25 years experience as a board certified physician assistant (PA). She has been at Stanford since 2011 with the surgical side of GI oncology. After teaching high school math and working in maternal health, Kristan went back to school to earn her Physician Assistant degree at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. She began her career as a PA in rural family practice where she was a primary care provider for her own panel of patients. She moved to the west coast in 2002 and earned her Masters at Pacific University while working in GI surgery at OHSU. She returned to rural internal medicine in Washington state, before spending a year on a colorectal inpatient surgery service introducing the role of physician assistants in New Zealand. Kristan moved to California in 2011 to take a position at Stanford GI oncology, where she is delighted to be a part of Hepatobiliary and Pancreas Surgery at Stanford. Kristan has continued to teach and precept Physician Assistant students throughout her career and enjoys lecturing at Stanford PA/NP program and UC Davis PA program.
She grew up in South America and the US and is continually trying to improve her Spanish. She loves the outdoors, hiking, trail running, biking and swimming. When not at Stanford, she is likely to be found on some trail with her dog.
Physician Assistant IV, GI Oncology
Taylor Aldridge is a physician assistant with the Surgical Oncology and Hepatobiliary and Pancreas (HPB) Surgery teams at Stanford Healthcare. Taylor has over ten years of experience as a physician assistant and joined the Stanford team in 2018. Before that, she worked as a gastroenterology PA in the suburbs of Chicago, primarily specializing in diseases of the pancreas, biliary tract, and GERD. She has recently published research on the utilization of TPN following major GI surgery and a review of the clinical distinction between borderline resectable and locally advanced pancreatic cancer.
She is a board-certified physician assistant who completed her Master of Medical Science in 2012 at Midwestern University in Illinois.
In her free time, Taylor enjoys spending time outdoors with her family and dog, hiking, gardening, and playing soccer.