Treatment options for pancreatic cysts vary depending upon their type and whether or not they are pre-cancerous or cancerous and on whether or not they are causing symptoms. Treatments may include:
All pancreatic cysts warrant monitoring with CT scans, or depending upon their stability, endoscopic ultrasound.
Pseudocysts are benign cysts and may be left alone as long as they aren’t adversely affecting the patient. A serous cystadenoma (a type of benign cyst that can displace organs) rarely becomes cancerous and can be left alone unless it causes symptoms or grows.
Draining the Cyst
A benign cyst (pseudocyst or serous cystadenoma) causing bothersome symptoms or increasing in size may be drained using an endoscopic procedure with fine needle aspiration (EUSFNA).
The endoscope is equipped with a needle to drain the cyst and can collect the fluids and, if necessary, tissue samples to be analyzed for cancerous cells. Targeted Biopsy permits cellular evaluation of the pancreatic cyst wall during the endoscopic examination.
Cellvizio Targeted Biopsy utilizes the world’s smallest microscope and laser imaging technology in conjunction with today’s endoscopic instruments to identify tissues at the cellular level during an endoscopic procedure.
Surgery may be needed to remove some benign cysts: an enlarged pseudocyst or a serous cystadenoma that’s causing pain or other symptoms. Other types of pancreatic cysts generally require surgical removal because of the risk of cancer and to enable them to be fully evaluated to determine if cancer cells are present.
The best way to avoid pseudocysts is to avoid getting pancreatitis, a condition that is usually caused by gallstones or by heavy use of alcohol.
If gallstones are determined to be the cause of the pancreatitis, a patient may need to have their gallbladder removed. If pancreatitis is due to alcohol use, abstaining from alcohol can reduce the potential for acquiring this condition.