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Is There A Surgery For Pancreatic Cysts & What Is The Most Common Surgery For It?

Different types of cysts contain different types of fluids. For example, Mucinous cysts contain mucus whereas pseudo cyst contains digestive enzymes(1).

Many pancreatic cysts are small and benign and produce no symptoms, but some cysts become large and cause symptoms(1).

Is There A Surgery For Pancreatic Cysts?

Is There A Surgery For Pancreatic Cysts?

The treatment of any lesion of the pancreas is dependent upon various factors. It varies with the fact of whether the patient is symptomatic or asymptomatic. It is also dependent upon the severity, benign or malignant nature, size, metastasis, type of lesion, etc.

If the pancreatic cyst patient is asymptomatic and the lesion is also benign then there is no need to remove the cyst and the management is just waiting and watch. But at the same time, if the patient is asymptomatic but the lesion is malignant with increased risk of developing metastasis, there is no place for the wait and watch strategy and it has to be operated as soon as possible.

If the pancreatic cyst patient becomes symptomatic in cases of benign lesions then a conservative strategy can be used. Pseudocyst and serous cystadenomas of large size with the symptomatic patient can be drained via needle puncture and aspiration of the contents could be done with the help of ultrasonographic marking of the site. If the patient is suffering from a malignant cystic lesion of the pancreas and the symptoms have begun to rise then it is a sign of poor prognosis and has to be investigated as soon as possible to look for the extent of the disease(2).

If there is a requirement of surgery in any case of pancreatic cyst then there are many different approaches to surgeries that can be followed. Surgery in the case of cystic lesions of the pancreas is largely dependent upon the size of the cyst. If the cyst is smaller in size (less than 3 cm) then its contents should be aspirated and checked for cancer growth. If found to be positive then it should be removed in toto. If found negative then there has to be no further treatment.

If the pancreatic cyst is of greater than 3cm and the contents are found to be positive for cancer growth then removal of the whole of the cyst along with the surrounding tissues which comprise most of the pancreas should be done to prevent the development of abnormal cells in the body. If the contents are found to be negative for cancer growth then it can also be treated conservatively for relieving the patient from symptoms.

What Is The Most Common Surgery For Pancreatic Cysts?

The most common of the surgeries done in the case of the pancreas are Whipple operation and distal pancreatectomy. Whipple’s operation is a major operation resulting in the removal of the whole of the pancreas along with the removal of gallbladder, duodenum, part of jejunum, common bile duct, and its components, etc. It is an operation with wide resection of the tissue and is commonly done in the cases where there is the involvement of the head, neck, or proximal two-third of the pancreas. Another common operation done in the pancreas is distal pancreatectomy. It is done in the cases where there is smaller involvement of the pancreas and that too in the distal one-third region only. In this surgery, the tail and nearly one-third of the pancreas is removed along with the spleen and small gastric tissue(3).


Yes, there are surgeries available for the lesions of the pancreas but the surgical approaches used judiciously. It is because the surgery of the pancreas is a major operation and has a long rehabilitation time with many side effects. Sometimes it can be life-threatening also because of the bleeding and other serious complications. The conservative approach is followed in many cases because most of the cystic lesions of the pancreas are benign and small in size.


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:August 2, 2021

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