Pancreatic cystic lesions

Cysts within the pancreas are commonly found during imaging studies with ultrasound, CT or MRI. Most people in whom pancreatic cysts are found do not have any symptoms, but occasionally they have abdominal pain. Cysts can develop after an episode of pancreatitis (pancreatic pseudocysts), but in most people the explanation for why they occur is unknown.

Most pancreatic cysts are benign, but have the potential of progressing to cancer of the pancreas. Because of this risk, additional testing is necessary to determine what type of cyst it is. These tests can include blood tests looking for proteins made by particular types of tumor and endoscopic ultrasound, which allows for detailed pictures to be taken of the pancreas and biopsies of the cyst and its contents to be taken.

Often, pancreatic cysts are small and remain that way and can simply be monitored using ultrasound, MRI or CT. However, if they are causing pain, the lesion is large or if there is a likelihood that the cysts could become cancer, surgery will be recommended to remove the cyst.
Providence Gastrointestinal Center provides state-of-the-art gastroenterology services. Our board-certified gastroenterologists diagnose and treat disorders of the digestive tract, which includes the esophagus, stomach, small intestine, colon and rectum, pancreas, liver, gallbladder and biliary system. Providence Gastrointestinal Center is part of a comprehensive program at Providence involving medical and surgical specialties.

The Advanced Endoscopy Center at Providence Gastrointestinal Center diagnoses and treats diseases of the digestive tract, using state-of-the-art technologies not widely available.