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Who Is At Risk for Pancreatic Cysts & How Is Its Biopsy Done?

Pancreatic cysts refer to the fluid pockets, which remain present inside or at the outer part of the pancreas. As the cysts have minimum symptoms, doctors may diagnose them with difficulty.(1)

Neo plastic and non-neoplastic cysts are the two major categories associated with pancreatic cysts. Cysts in most of the cases are noncancerous and do not cause symptoms, while others may or may not be cancerous.(2)

Doctors usually refer to the inflammatory cysts of the pancreatic areas as pancreatic pseudocysts, as they take place from the pancreas inflammation.(3)

Who Is At Risk for Pancreatic Cysts?

Who Is At Risk for Pancreatic Cysts?

Until now, doctors are unable to identify the underlying cause of pancreatic cysts. However, they have identified various risk factors. These include the following-

Genetic Disorder: A few of the people may suffer from pancreatic cysts because of a genetic disorder named Von Hippel Lindau disease.

Pancreatitis Enzymes: When the enzymes formed in the pancreas, which help in the digestion process become active in their premature stage, they can cause pancreas irritation followed by pancreatic cysts.

Gallstones And Heavy Intake Of Alcohol: Both gallstones and heavy intake of alcohol are the risk factors related to pancreatitis and thereby, can cause the problem of pancreatic cysts.

Injury In The Abdomen: Cysts may likely form after you suffer from abdominal trauma, like for instance after the incident of a car accident.(4)

How Is A Pancreatic Cyst Biopsy Done?

In the case of pancreatic cysts biopsy, pathologists will collect a sample tissue of the pancreatic cyst to examine it properly. A biopsy is recommendable with endoscopic ultrasound. For this procedure, doctors insert a needle in the endoscope and use various ultrasound images to guide the respective needle within the cyst and to remove cells and fluids. In some cases, doctors recommend for CEA blood test i.e. Carcinobronic Antigen to identify pancreatic cysts and allow pathologists to analyze the tissue by placing it under a microscope to view the types of cells.(5)

Pancreatic cysts biopsy is helpful to confirm whether a person has cancer or not. It also lets the doctor identify the type of pancreatic cancer. Whether biopsy is done separately or at the time of conducting any other test, it is conducted in any one among the following ways-

FNA i.e. Fine Needle Aspiration Biopsy: Doctor will use endoscopic ultrasound or CT scan for locating the formed tumor. Later on, he/she inserts a thin and long needle from the skin and inside the tumor. Your doctor may even remove cells by using the same needle.

Brush Biopsy: Brush biopsy is conducted at the time of a procedure referred to as ERCP i.e. endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography test. Accordingly, doctors insert a long and thin tube from the mouth of a patient within his or her first area of the small intestine. After this, the doctor will place a tiny brush from the endoscope and in the bile ducts or pancreatic areas. Here, the brush is useful for rubbing off a few of the cells to conduct the biopsy procedure.

Laparoscopy: Your surgeon will place a small cut on the abdominal area for inserting a thin tube with a small video camera and light at the end. This allows your doctor to view the pancreas and its surrounding areas. The surgeon will create a few of the additional cuts for inserting other tools to remove the pancreatic cells to conduct a biopsy.

After the completion of the biopsy, doctors or pathologists will examine various samples of tissues under a microscope and detect the cancer cells. You have to wait for a few days to get the results of your biopsy procedure.(6)


Genetic disease, alcohol intake, premature growth of enzymes, and gallstones are responsible to increase your risk to suffer from pancreatic cysts. However, depending on whether to identify the tumor or collect a few of the sample cells, doctors may conduct pancreatic cysts biopsy in different ways.


Also Read:

Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA
Written, Edited or Reviewed By: Pramod Kerkar, M.D., FFARCSI, DA Pain Assist Inc. This article does not provide medical advice. See disclaimer
Last Modified On:June 3, 2022

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