A pancreatic pseudocyst is a fluid-filled sac that most commonly arises as a complication of pancreatitis.
Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas gland, which can result in leakage of pancreatic juices (digestive enzymes) into the tissue surrounding the pancreas. If this fluid is not reabsorbed and becomes walled-off, a pseudocyst is formed.
A pseudocyst can be small and asymptomatic, whereas a large pseudocyst may cause symptoms by pressing against adjacent organs such as the stomach or intestines.
Common symptoms include abdominal pain, nausea, and vomiting. Fever may occur if the fluid becomes infected.
A pseudocyst is easily diagnosed with an imaging study of the abdomen such as an ultrasound, CT Scan, or MRI.
Small asymptomatic pseudocysts require no treatment and will often resolve spontaneously over time.
Symptomatic or infected pseudocysts should be drained. This can be accomplished by draining the pseudocyst into an adjacent organ such as the stomach or small intestine. This can be performed by using endoscopy (passing a thin flexible scope into the stomach or intestine) or by surgery.