Pancreatic Cysts

What is Pancreatic Cysts?

Pancreatic Cysts are liquid-filled growths that are usually benign. They are sometimes caused by pancreatitis. More often than not they are found simply by chance during CT scans, MRIs, and other imaging methods. Although most are harmless they can become cancerous. Around 20 different types exist. That is why it is important to find out what kind they are and whether or not they pose a threat.

What are the Symptoms of Pancreatic Cysts?

Most of the time pancreatic cysts do not generate signs or symptoms. Those that do usually include:

  • Unrelenting abdominal pain that might spread to the back
  • A palpable mass in the upper abdominal region
  • Queasiness and vomiting

When symptoms are more severe they may also include:

  • Fever
  • Fainting spells
  • Confusion
  • Fast and weakened heartbeat
  • Bloody vomit

How is Pancreatic Cysts Treated?

Most pancreatic cysts do not require treatment, but it may be necessary to monitor the growths for changes that might be concerning. The only curative treatment is removal, but some cysts can be drained using endoscopy or more direct measures. When surgery is required it may be:

  • Laparoscopic
  • Robot-assisted
  • Open surgery

To prevent additional pancreatic cysts, treatment may include gallstone prevention or removal and limitation of alcoholic beverages.


Last Reviewed:
October 07, 2016
Last Updated:
August 23, 2017