Watchful waiting or treatment depends on the type of cyst you have, its size, its characteristics and whether it's 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.
A pseudocyst that is causing bothersome symptoms or growing larger can be drained. A small flexible tube (endoscope) is passed through your mouth to your stomach and small intestine. The endoscope is equipped with an ultrasound probe (endoscopic ultrasound) and a needle to drain the cyst. Sometimes drainage through the skin is necessary.
Surgery might 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. 19, 2015
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