Treatment depends on the type of cyst you have and whether it is causing symptoms.
A benign pseudocyst, even a large one, can be left alone as long as it isn't bothering you. Serous cystadenoma rarely becomes cancerous, so it also can be left alone unless it causes symptoms or grows.
But all pancreatic cysts should be monitored. Cysts smaller than 10 millimeters (0.39 inches) can be imaged with CT scan after one year, and then less frequently if they remain stable. Cysts larger than 10 millimeters usually require regular endoscopic ultrasound to look for worrisome features.
A pseudocyst that is causing bothersome symptoms or growing larger may be drained. A small flexible tube (endoscope) is passed through your mouth to your stomach and small intestine. The endoscope is equipped with a needle to drain the cyst.
Surgery may be needed to remove an enlarged pseudocyst or a serous cystadenoma that's causing pain or other symptoms. Other types of pancreatic cysts generally require surgical removal because of the risk of cancer.
A pseudocyst may recur if you have ongoing pancreatitis.
Sept. 08, 2012
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- AskMayoExpert. When should patients with pancreatic cystic lesions be referred for subspecialty evaluation? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.
- AskMayoExpert. When are patients with mucinous cystic neoplasms considered for operative or interventional procedures? Rochester, Minn.: Mayo Foundation for Medical Education and Research; 2012.
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