How is pancreatitis treated?

If you have pancreatitis, your primary care provider will probably refer you to a specialist. A doctor who specializes in the digestive system (gastroenterologist) should oversee your care.

Doctors use one or more of these methods to treat acute pancreatitis:

  • Hospitalization with supportive care and monitoring.
  • Pain medication to provide comfort.
  • Endoscopic procedure or surgery to remove a gallstone, other blockage or damaged part of the pancreas.
  • Supplemental pancreatic enzymes and insulin, if your pancreas isn’t functioning well.

Procedures used to treat pancreatitis

Most pancreatitis complications like pancreatic pseudocyst (type of inflammatory cyst) or infected pancreas tissue are managed through endoscopic procedure (inserting a tube down your throat until it reaches your small intestine, which is next to your pancreas). Gallstones and pancreas stones are removed with an endoscopic procedure.

If surgery is recommended, surgeons can often perform a laparoscopic procedure. This surgical technique involves smaller cuts that take less time to heal.

During laparoscopic surgery, your surgeon inserts a laparoscope (an instrument with a tiny camera and light) into keyhole-sized cuts in your abdomen. The laparoscope sends images of your organs to a monitor to help guide the surgeon during the procedure.

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