A pancreatic cyst is a closed liquid sac that forms on or in the pancreas. There are many different types of pancreatic cysts – some are harmless, some may cause pancreas inflammation, and some can be cancerous or pre-cancerous (have the potential to turn cancerous if left untreated).
As the cyst develops, you may experience symptoms such as:
Pain in the upper abdomen or back
Swelling in the upper abdomen
Pale stools or diarrhoea
Nausea and vomiting
How are pancreatic cysts treated?
Treatment for pancreatic cysts depends on the nature of the cysts:
Some non-cancerous cysts do not require treatment but should be monitored regularly by doctors.
Some non-cancerous cysts may need to be drained to prevent further swelling of the pancreas. The drainage may be performed:
Endoscopically to drain the pancreatic cyst internally. This procedure does not involve visible external scars or a drain tube.
Surgically via minimally invasive techniques. This procedure involves small cuts on your abdomen. Through these cuts, your surgeon will insert thin, flexible surgical tools into your body along with a special, tubular camera to view and drain the cysts.
Pre-cancerous cysts need to be removed together with part or all of the pancreas, to prevent the onset of pancreatic cancer. This procedure can be performed with open surgery or minimally invasive surgery using laparoscopic (keyhole) tools.