Medical Encyclopedia


Medical Encyclopedia

Other encyclopedia topics:  A-Ag  Ah-Ap  Aq-Az  B-Bk  Bl-Bz  C-Cg  Ch-Co  Cp-Cz  D-Di  Dj-Dz  E-Ep  Eq-Ez  F  G  H-Hf  Hg-Hz  I-In  Io-Iz  J  K  L-Ln  Lo-Lz  M-Mf  Mg-Mz  N  O  P-Pl  Pm-Pz  Q  R  S-Sh  Si-Sp  Sq-Sz  T-Tn  To-Tz  U  V  W  X  Y  Z  0-9 

Pancreatic pseudocyst

Contents of this page:


Digestive system
Digestive system
Endocrine glands
Endocrine glands
Pancreatic pseudocyst, CT scan
Pancreatic pseudocyst, CT scan

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 top

Owyang 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.

A.D.A.M. Logo

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatment of any medical condition. A licensed physician should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions. Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. Copyright 1997-2009, A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication or distribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.