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Definition Return to top
A pancreatic pseudocyst is a collection of tissue, fluid, debris, pancreatic enzymes, and blood in the abdomen. It can develop after acute pancreatitis.
Causes Return to top
Pancreatic pseudocysts usually develop after an episode of severe, acute pancreatitis. They often happen when the pancreatic ducts are disrupted by inflammation that occurs during pancreatitis. Risk factors for a pancreatic pseudocyst are acute pancreatitis, abdominal trauma, and chronic pancreatitis.
Symptoms Return to top
Exams and Tests Return to top
The health care provider may palpate your abdomen to feel for a pseudocyst, which feels like a mass in the middle or left upper abdomen.
Tests that may help diagnose pancreatic pseudocyst include:
Treatment Return to top
Treatment depends on the size of the pseudocyst and whether it is causing symptoms. Many pseudocysts go away on their own. Those that remain longer than 6 weeks and are larger than 5 cm in diameter may require surgery.
Surgical treatments include:
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
The outcome is generally good with treatment.
Possible Complications Return to top
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call your health care provider if you develop persistent abdominal pain or signs of pancreatic abscess such as fever or chills.
Rupture of the cyst is an emergency situation! Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if you develop symptoms of bleeding or shock, such as:
Prevention Return to top
Prevention of pancreatic pseudocysts is directed at preventing pancreatitis. If pancreatitis is caused by gallstones, it is usually necessary to surgically remove the gall bladder (cholecystectomy). When pancreatitis occurs due to alcohol abuse, the patient must abstain from alcohol.
References Return to topOwyang C. Pancreatitis. In: Goldman L, Ausiello D, eds. Cecil Medicine. 23rd ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2007: chap 147. Update Date: 12/19/2008 Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine; George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, CA. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.