How to remove a pancreatic cyst with surgery

Updated April 17, 2017

According to the Mayo Clinic, a pancreatic cyst is an unnatural pocket of fluid that develops within the pancreas. While many cysts in the pancreas produce no symptoms at all, where symptoms do appear they include radiating abdominal pain, an unnatural feeling of mass in the upper abdomen, and vomiting with or without corresponding nausea. Surgery is used to treat cysts that are potentially cancerous or are otherwise causing undesirable symptoms.

Consult with your physician about your condition to decide whether the type of cyst and your symptoms make surgical removal a viable option. He will likely want to properly diagnose the presence of a cyst through imaging tests such as ultrasound or CAT scans. These tests will provide your doctor with an electronic image of your pancreas so he can better identify and pinpoint the problem. This will help him distinguish between a cyst and a pseudocyst. A pseudocyst is a non-cancerous cyst that contains cells from other organs.

Have further testing performed where the cyst might be cancerous. This is done by inserting a long needle through the skin into the cyst itself, guided by electronic imaging. A small portion of fluid will be drained, which can then be sent to a lab for analysis. Regardless of whether the cyst is causing symptoms, it will need to be removed as soon as possible if the tests come back indicating that the cyst is cancerous, so prepare yourself for the possibility of surgery very soon following this procedure.

Have surgery to remove a potentially cancerous cyst or a cyst that is causing unwanted symptoms. According to the Mayo Clinic, cyst removal is a fairly routine procedure that nearly guarantees the non-recurrence of the issue. During surgery, a connection will be created from the cyst to an adjacent organ (either the stomach, small intestine, or the initial portion of the intestine), allowing the cyst to drain without incident. The procedure used will depend upon the location of the cyst, so you will have to rely on your doctor's judgment to choose the right procedure for you.

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About the Author

TS Jordan is an Ohio licensed attorney living and practicing out of the Cleveland area. In addition to his Juris Doctorate, he holds a Bachelors' Degree in Information Systems. He has been writing professionally for less than a year.