Pancreatic Pseudocyst

Symptoms, Doctors, Treatments, Research & More

Condition 101

What is the definition of Pancreatic Pseudocyst?

A pancreatic pseudocyst is a fluid-filled sac in the abdomen that arises from the pancreas. It may also contain tissue from the pancreas, enzymes, and blood.

What are the alternative names for Pancreatic Pseudocyst?

Pancreatitis - pseudocyst

What are the causes for Pancreatic Pseudocyst?

The pancreas is an organ located behind the stomach. It produces chemicals (called enzymes) needed to digest food. It also produces the hormones insulin and glucagon.

Pancreatic pseudocysts most often develop after an episode of severe pancreatitis. Pancreatitis happens when your pancreas gets inflamed. There are many causes of this problem.

This problem may sometimes occur:

  • In someone with long-term (chronic)swelling of the pancreas
  • After trauma to the belly, more often in children

The pseudocyst happens when the ducts (tubes) in the pancreas are damaged and fluid with enzymes cannot drain.

What are the symptoms for Pancreatic Pseudocyst?

Symptoms can occur within days to months after an attack of pancreatitis. They include:

  • Bloating of the abdomen
  • Constant pain or deep ache in the abdomen, which may also be felt in the back
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Loss of appetite
  • Difficulty eating and digesting food

What are the current treatments for Pancreatic Pseudocyst?

Treatment depends on the size of the pseudocyst and whether it is causing symptoms. Many pseudocysts go away on their own. Those that remain for more than 6 weeks and are larger than 5 cm in diameter often need treatment.

Possible treatments include:

  • Drainage through the skin using a needle, most often guided by a CT scan.
  • Endoscopic-assisted drainage using an endoscope. In this, a tube containing a camera and a light is passed down into the stomach)
  • Surgical drainage of the pseudocyst. A connection is made between the cyst and the stomach or small intestine. This may be done using a laparoscope.

What is the outlook (prognosis) for Pancreatic Pseudocyst?

The outcome is generally good with treatment. It is important to make sure that it is not a pancreatic cancer that starts in a cyst, which has a worse outcome.

What are the possible complications for Pancreatic Pseudocyst?

Complications may include:

  • A pancreatic abscess can develop if the pseudocyst becomes infected.
  • The pseudocyst can break open (rupture). This can be a serious complication because shock and excess bleeding (hemorrhage) may develop.
  • The pseudocyst may press down on (compress) nearby organs.

When should I contact a medical professional for Pancreatic Pseudocyst?

Rupture of the pseudocyst is a medical emergency. Go to the emergency room or call the local emergency number (such as 911) if you develop symptoms of bleeding or shock, such as:

  • Fainting
  • Fever and chills
  • Rapid heartbeat
  • Severe abdominal pain

How do I prevent Pancreatic Pseudocyst?

The way to prevent pancreatic pseudocysts is by preventing pancreatitis. If pancreatitis is caused by gallstones, the provider will perform surgery to remove the gallbladder (cholecystectomy).

When pancreatitis occurs due to alcohol abuse, you must stop drinking alcohol to prevent future attacks.

When pancreatitis occurs due to high blood triglycerides, this condition should be treated.



Forsmark CE. Pancreatitis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman-Cecil Medicine. 26th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:chap 135.

Martin MJ, Brown CVR. Management of pancreatic pseudocyst. In: Cameron AM, Cameron JL, eds. Current Surgical Therapy. 13th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier; 2020:525-536.

Tenner SC, Steinberg WM. Acute pancreatitis. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Brandt LJ, eds. Sleisenger and Fordtran's Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease: Pathophysiology/Diagnosis/Management. 10th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 58.

Latest Research

Latest Advance
  • Condition: Chronic Pancreatitis Complicated by Pancreaticopleural Fistula with Lung Abscesses
  • Journal: The American journal of case reports
  • Treatment Used: Staged Interventional and Surgical Treatment
  • Number of Patients: 1
  • Published —
The study researched the outcomes of staged interventional and surgical treatment for patients with chronic pancreatitis complicated by pancreaticopleural fistula with lung abscesses.
Latest Advance
  • Condition: Pancreatic Pseudocysts
  • Journal: Annali italiani di chirurgia
  • Treatment Used: Endoscopic Assisted Laparoscopic Surgery
  • Number of Patients: 3
  • Published —
In this study, researchers evaluated the outcomes of endoscopic assisted laparoscopic surgery efor the treatment of pancreatic pseudocysts.