Cleveland Clinic’s Pancreas Clinic is one of the few centers in the nation that specializes in patient-centered treatments and frontline research for every type of pancreatic disorder.
The Pancreas Clinic treats disorders such as complicated acute pancreatitis, chronic pancreatitis, and pancreatic cancer. Each year, more than 1,500 patients trust the Pancreas Clinic with their healthcare needs. Cleveland Clinic is ranked as one of the nation's top hospitals by U.S. News & World Report.
The Pancreas Clinic offers a single location for patients to receive the best therapies and treatment options for pancreatic disorders. Patients travel from around the country to receive our innovative treatments and services, including:
- Endoscopic, minimally invasive and radiographic diagnostic imaging
- Islet auto transplantation
- Robotic surgery for pancreatic cancer
- Robotic pancreaticoduodenectomy
- Chronic pain management using pancreatic enzymes, subcutaneous injections of octreotide, and other alternative treatments.
Current Pancreas Clinic research may lead to the development of a new test for the early detection of pancreatic cancer.
For more information on pancreatic disease visit The National Pancreas Foundation.
Why Choose Us
As the nation’s rate of pancreatic disease continues to climb, Cleveland Clinic’s Pancreas Clinic rises to the challenge of diagnosing and treating pancreas-related diseases. The Pancreas Clinic, part of Cleveland Clinic’s Digestive Disease and Surgery Institute (DDSI), specializes in multidisciplinary, patient-centered treatments and innovative research for all types of pancreatic diseases and disorders.
Our clinic unites specialists from across Cleveland Clinic, including pancreatic surgeons, gastroenterologists, radiologists, anesthesiologists, psychologists and oncologists from Taussig Cancer Center, when needed, who together work to customize the best possible treatment for patients and give them improved quality of life. This collaboration also means that patients get the care they need right away, rather than waiting for separate appointments with various specialists.
Cleveland Clinic's Pancreatic Cancer Program offers the highest-quality care for diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic cancer.
What We Treat
Pancreatitis is a painful inflammation of the pancreas. Pancreatic damage occurs when digestive enzymes attack the pancreas. In severe cases, pancreatitis can cause loss of blood flow to the gland, leading to serious tissue damage, infection and cyst formation.
Severe pancreatitis can cause damage if enzymes and toxins are released into the bloodstream and harm other vital organs, such as the heart, lungs and kidneys. Typically, pancreatitis develops gradually and becomes progressively worse. There two forms of pancreatitis: acute and chronic.
Acute pancreatitis is a sudden inflammation of the pancreas that occurs over a short period of time. More than 80 percent of acute pancreatitis cases are caused by heavy alcohol use or gallstones. In the latter case, gallstones passing from the gallbladder can become lodged at the ampulla (opening to the ducts that drain the gallbladder and pancreas). This blockage causes an obstruction of the pancreatic duct. Pancreatic juices can then back up into the pancreas and lead to acute pancreatitis.
Symptoms of acute pancreatitis range from mild abdominal discomfort to a severe, life-threatening illness.
Over 53,000 people in the U.S. are diagnosed with pancreatic cancer annually.
Pancreatic cancer is a malignant disease that starts in the ductal cells of the pancreas. The disease occurs when cells in the pancreas grow, divide, and spread uncontrollably, forming a malignant tumor. In addition to cancerous tumors, there also are a variety of benign (noncancerous) tumors that can develop in the pancreas.
Pancreatic cancer is known to spread silently, so in most cases, symptoms do not present themselves until the disease is in an advanced stage. Unfortunately, by this point, treatment options are limited.
Tests & Treatment
Our Pancreas Clinic offers state-of-the-art diagnostic tests for pancreas related disorders available, including:
- Abdominal ultrasound
- Detects gallstones and fluid from inflammation in the abdomen (ascites)
- Ultrasound can also show an enlarged common bile duct, an abscess, or a pseudocyst (a collection of tissue, fluid and pancreatic enzymes)
- Computed Tomography (CT Scan)
- Can help rule out other abdominal pain causes and determine if tissue is dying
- CT can identify complications (fluid around the pancreas, abscess or pseudocyst)
- ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography)
- A tube is placed down the throat, into the stomach, then into the small intestine
- Dye helps the doctor view the bile and pancreatic ducts on an X-ray
- Endoscopic ultrasound
- A scope is inserted down the throat into the stomach. Sound waves show abdominal organs and may reveal gallstones
- Endoscopic ultrasound can help diagnose chronic pancreatitis when an invasive test might exacerbate the condition
- Pancreatic Function Tests
- Fecal elastase test: Measures elastase (an enzyme found in the pancreas) in a stool sample to test how well the pancreas works
- Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP): A type of MRI used to view bile ducts and the pancreatic duct
- Secretin pancreatic function test: Measures the ability of the pancreas to respond to the hormone secretin
We offers many treatment options for patients with pancreatitis and pancreatic cancer including:
- Enzyme treatment for pancreatic insufficiency
- Endoscopic, minimally invasive and radiographic interventions
- Chronic pain management using medications, celiac plexus blockade, splanchnic radiofrequency ablation, spinal cord stimulation, and other alternative treatments.
- Removal of the pancreas with Islet auto transplantation
- Robotic and laparoscopic surgery for pancreatic cancer and cysts
- Pancreatic Cancer: What You Need to Know - Cleveland Clinic's Butts and Guts Podcast
Call 216.445.8319 to make an appointment with any of our experts at Cleveland Clinic’s Pancreas Clinic.
Making Your Care Easier
If you are traveling from out of state and need any assistance, call the complimentary Medical Concierge at 800.223.2273, ext. 55580, or email [email protected].
This secure online tool connects patients to their own health information from the privacy of their home any time, day or night. Some features include renewing prescriptions, reviewing test results and viewing medications, all online. For the convenience of physicians and patients across the country, MyChart now offers a secure connection to Google™ Health. Google Health users can securely share personal health information with Cleveland Clinic, and record and share the details of their Cleveland Clinic treatment with the physicians and healthcare providers of their choice. To establish a MyChart account, visit clevelandclinic.org/mychart.
Virtual Second Opinions
If you cannot travel to Cleveland Clinic, help is available. You can connect with Cleveland Clinic specialists from any location in the world via a phone, tablet, or computer, eliminating the burden of travel time and other obstacles.
If you’re facing a significant medical condition or treatment such as surgery, this program provides virtual access to a Cleveland Clinic physician who will review the diagnosis and treatment plan. Following a comprehensive evaluation of medical records and labs, you’ll receive an educational second opinion from an expert in their medical condition covering diagnosis, treatment options or alternatives as well as recommendations regarding future therapeutic considerations. You’ll also have the unique opportunity to speak with the physician expert directly to address questions or concerns.
You can now stay connected to your healthcare team through virtual visits, using your smartphone, tablet or computer.
Why go virtual? It's an easy, convenient and secure way to see your provider face-to-face without having to leave home. This saves you travel time, parking fees and time spent in the waiting room — and you can also have a loved one or caregiver join you. If appropriate, you can also get a prescription sent to the pharmacy of your choice.
Many insurance companies cover the cost of virtual visits, so check with your insurance company ahead of time. Interested in getting started? Call your provider to find out what virtual visit options are available.