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What Is a Pancreatic Pseudocyst?

Pseudocyst Treatment

Often pseudocysts get better and go away on their own. If a pseudocyst is small and not causing serious symptoms, a doctor may want to monitor it with periodic CT scans. If the pseudocyst persists, gets larger, or causes pain, it will require surgical treatment. If not monitored or treated, a pseudocyst can become infected or rupture, causing severe pain, blood loss and abdominal infection.

Surgery for Pseudocysts

For pseudocysts requiring treatment, surgery is usually necessary. During surgery to correct a pseudocyst, the surgeon usually makes a connection between the pseudocyst and an nearby digestive organ. This allows the pseudocyst to drain through that organ. Depending on the location of the pseudocyst within the pancreas, that connection may be with the stomach, small intestine, or duodenum, the upper end of the small intestine.

In some cases, this surgery is done laparoscopically. That means it's performed through small incisions in the abdomen, using slender tools and a lighted scope. This procedure minimizes hospitalization and recovery time.

Draining a Pseudocyst

In other cases, treatment involves draining the pseudocyst without surgery. This can be done by a radiologist or gastroenterologist, a doctor specializing in the digestive system.

A radiologist will drain it by inserting a needle guided by computed tomography. A gastroenterologist may drain the pseudocyst through the stomach by creating a small opening between the pseudocyst and the stomach, or by placing a stent into the pancreas during endoscopy. If the stent is placed directly into the pseudocyst then the fluid from the pseudocyst is drained into the intestine through this tube.

Treatment varies for different people and different situations. If you have been diagnosed with a pseudocyst, speak with your doctor about the best treatment for you.

WebMD Medical Reference

Reviewed by Melinda Ratini, DO, MS on April 15, 2013
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