How are pancreatic cysts and pseudocysts treated?

Most pseudocysts resolve on their own without treatment, over time. However, when symptoms become persistent, complications emerge or a cyst become larger than 6 centimeters in size, it should be drained.

There are three methods of cyst drainage:

  • Endoscopic drainage.
  • Percutaneous catheter drainage, which uses hollow tube inserted into the body to remove fluid.
  • Surgical drainage, either via open surgery or laparoscopic surgery (using a laparoscope, a surgical tool that only requires a small incision).

Endoscopic drainage is gaining acceptance because it's less invasive, has less risk of complications than open surgery, doesn't require an external drain, and its long-term success rate is high.

Last reviewed by a Cleveland Clinic medical professional on 07/29/2014.

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