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HPB (Oxford). 2006;8(6):432-41. doi: 10.1080/13651820600748012.

Pancreatic pseudocysts--when and how to treat?

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  • 1Department of Gastroenterology, Endocrinology and Nutrition, Ernst-Moritz-Arndt Universität, Greifswald, Germany.


Pancreatic pseudocysts are a well-known complication of acute or chronic pancreatitis, with a higher incidence in the latter. Currently several classification systems are in use that are based on the origin of the pseudocyst, their relation to pancreatic duct anatomy and a possible pseudocyst-duct communication. Diagnosis is accomplished most often by CT scanning, by endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreaticography (ERCP) or by ultrasound, and rapid progress in the improvement of diagnostic tools has enabled detection with high sensitivity and specificity. There are different therapeutic strategies: endoscopic transpapillary or transmural drainage, percutaneous catheter drainage, or open surgery. The feasibility of endoscopic drainage is highly dependent on the anatomy and topography of the pseudocyst, but provides high success and low complication rates. Percutaneous drainage is used for infected pseudocysts. However, its usefulness in chronic pancreatitis-associated pseudocysts is questionable. Internal drainage and pseudocyst resection are frequently used as surgical approaches with a good overall outcome, but a somewhat higher morbidity and mortality compared with endoscopic intervention. We therefore conclude that pseudocyst treatment in chronic pancreatitis can be effectively achieved by both endoscopic and surgical means.

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