A pancreatic pseudocyst is a fluid-filled sac in the pancreas, which may also contain pancreatic tissue, pancreatic enzymes and blood.
Most patients with a pancreatic pseudocyst develop it following an episode of severe, acute pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is the sudden swelling and inflammation of the pancreas. Sometimes a pseudocyst occurs after trauma to the abdomen or in someone with chronic pancreatitis.
Pancreatic Pseudocyst Symptoms
Symptoms may develop within days of an attack of pancreatitis, but may not occur until months afterwards. Symptoms include:
- Bloating of the abdomen with your abdomen feeling full and tight
- Constant pain in the abdomen, which you may also feel in your back
- Difficulty eating and digesting food
Pancreatic Pseudocyst Diagnosis
Your doctor may order some of the following tests to help confirm a diagnosis:
- Abdominal computed tomography (CT) scan, an imaging method, uses X-rays to create cross-sectional pictures of your abdominal area.
- Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan of the abdomen, also an imaging method, uses powerful magnets and radio waves to create a detailed image of your abdominal area.
- Abdominal ultrasound, an imaging procedure, examines your internal organs using high-frequency sound waves.
Pancreatic Pseudocyst Treatment
The treatment will depend on the size of the cyst and whether it is causing problems. Sometimes, pancreatic pseudocysts disappear without treatment. However, if the cyst remains for more than six weeks and is larger than five centimeters in diameter, surgery is required. Learn more about surgical procedures to treat pancreatic pseudocysts.
Surgical Procedures for Pancreatic Pseudocysts:
- Draining the cyst through the skin (percutaneous), using a needle. During this procedure, your surgeon uses computed tomography (CT) images as a guide.
- Surgical drainage of the cyst. During this procedure, the surgeon makes a connection between the cyst and your stomach or small intestine to drain the cyst.
- EUS-guided pseudocyst drainage. Using an endoscope with an ultrasound transducer at the tip, a stent is used to connect and drain the pseudocyst to the stomach.