What is Pancreatic Cyst?
Pancreatic cysts are pocket or sac-like structures filled with fluid in your pancreas. The majority of these cysts are non-cancerous, but a few could be cancerous.
Pancreatic Cyst Causes
Although the exact cause of pancreatic cysts is unknown, these are considered to be associated with the following factors:
- Genetic disorder: Pancreatic cysts are closely associated with von Hippel-Lindau disease, a genetic disorder.
- Hereditary: Family history of pancreatic cysts–can be passed in generations.
- In a few cases, polycystic kidney disease is also considered to cause pancreatic cysts.
Signs or Symptoms of Pancreatic Cyst
Signs of pancreatic cysts could develop within a few days to months and include the following:
- Abdominal pain (usually severe and persistent)
- Feeling mass in the upper abdominal region
- Symptoms could include the following:
- Pancreatic cyst infection
- Vomiting blood
- Rupturing of cyst and fainting
Possible Pancreatic Cyst Treatment
The pancreatic cyst treatment depends on the type, size, and overall condition of the patient. Various pancreatic cyst treatment approaches include:
- Drainage: Drainage is a commonly used method to treat non-cancerous cysts. The cysts are drained of the fluid using a needle with the help of an endoscope.
- Pancreatic surgery: The cysts are surgically removed, and this option is used in patients with painful and enlarged pancreatic cysts.
Risk Factors of Pancreatic Cyst
Risk factors for pancreatic cysts include the following:
- von Hippel-Lindau disease: People with this genetic disorder are at an increased risk of developing pancreatic cysts.
- Pancreatitis: Inflammation of the pancreas could lead to irritation and cyst formation.
- Alcohol use: Alcohol use is another important risk factor for pancreatitis and associated cyst formation.
- Gallstones: Gallstone formation is associated with pancreatitis and pancreatic cyst.
- Abdominal injury: An injury or trauma to the abdomen could lead to cyst formation.
Pancreatic Cyst Various Stages
Pancreatic cysts could be graded into the following:
- Unilocular cysts: These are cysts without a central solid component or internal septum. These are usually pseudocysts.
- Microcystic Lesions: The cysts have fine external lobules and could occur in groups as a polycystic pattern.
- Macrocytic Lesions: These lesions have multilocular cysts in the body and tail of the pancreas.
- Cysts with a Solid Component: The cysts have a solid compartment that could be unilocular or multilocular. These are solid tumors.
Typical Test Needed For Pancreatic Cyst
The typical test starts with diagnosing the patient’s medical history, signs, symptoms, and physical examination, followed by imaging tests. Transabdominal ultrasound is recommended to diagnose pseudocysts. Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI) and abdominal Computerized Tomography (CT) scans are used to make an accurate diagnosis. In addition, endoscopic ultrasound and endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) could also be used to confirm the diagnosis.
Pancreatic Cyst Prevention
Pancreatic Cyst Primary Prevention
Although there is nothing much you can do to prevent the development of pancreatic cysts; you can follow the preventive tips to reduce the risk:
- Quit alcohol: Alcohol use is associated with various pancreas complications.
- Diet: Eat a low-fat diet to reduce the risk of developing pancreatic cysts. Avoid consuming sodas, fried foods, and sugary beverages.
- Monitor triglyceride levels: Hypertriglyceridemia is associated with an increased risk of pancreatic disorders, so you should periodically monitor your triglyceride levels.
Pancreatic Cyst Secondary Prevention
Secondary prevention aims to reduce the risk of complications and recurrences. The following measure can be taken:
- Regular follow-ups: Follow-ups should be made as per the schedule to assess the recovery, risk of recurrence, and overall quality of life.
- Symptom watch-out: Always look for symptoms of recurrence or complications and seek immediate medical attention.
- Lifestyle: Exercise regularly and eat a well-balanced diet. Avoid fried food, high-fat food, sodas, sugary beverages, etc.
- Avoid pancreatitis: Pancreatitis could increase the risk of various complications of the pancreas.
- Awareness: Being aware of the disease and having realistic expectations helps better planning and management.
Alternate Name of Pancreatic Cyst
Cystic pancreas or Pancreas cyst
Pancreatic Cyst Differential Diagnosis
The clinical presentation of pancreatic cyst could mimic various other medical conditions such as benign lesions of the pancreas, malignant lesions of the pancreas, pseudocysts, cystic fibrosis, duodenal diverticulum, and necrotic cystic lymphadenopathy, cystic teratoma, neuroendocrine tumors, retention cysts, solid pseudopapillary tumors, etc. Hence, a differential diagnosis is required to rule out these conditions.
- Pancreatic cysts are relatively common and usually without any symptoms; hence these go undiagnosed for years.
- People with concurrent extrapancreatic cysts and diabetes have more prevalence of pancreatic cysts.
- Asians have a high prevalence of pancreatic cysts compared to Africans and Whites.
- The large cysts (> 10 cm) usually develop in older age.
The prognosis depends on the age, type of cyst, staging, and response to treatment. The treatment is more effective in the initial stages, and the prognosis is better.
Progression of pancreatic cysts is usually slow and gradual, but in rare cases, it could be fast, leading to a rapid increase in the size of cysts. These could further lead to pancreatic duct dilation.
Pancreatic neoplastic cysts are closely associated with genetic modification that could result from the mutations arising due to environmental factors or genetic diseases such as von Hippel-Lindau disease. These mutations lead to the formation of cysts. Inflammatory pancreatic cysts could be caused by inflammation in the pancreas due to the release of inflammatory transmitters.
Possible Complications of Pancreatic Cyst
If left untreated, pancreatic cysts could lead to various complications such as infections, abscess formation, bleeding, rupture of cyst leading to life-threatening infections, bile duct obstruction, portal hypertension, etc. In severe cases, obstructive jaundice can develop due to bile duct leading obstruction leading to yellowing of the skin, eye white, and mucous membranes.
Our Medical Pancreatic Cyst Treatment in Mumbai, India Experts
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