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How are pancreatic cysts treated?

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Quick Answer

Pancreatic cysts are treated either by draining them using a needle or by surgical removal, according to Mayo Clinic. Many pancreatic cysts, including cystadenomas or pseudocysts, often do not require treatment unless they grow too large. Other types of cysts require surgery because they often lead to cancer.

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Full Answer

Pancreatic cysts are pockets of fluid on or within the pancreas, an organ that produces digestive juices, according to Mayo Clinic. Pseudocysts are not actually considered true cysts because they are lined with scar or inflammatory tissue rather than the type of tissue that lines true cysts. Pancreatic cysts may or may not produce symptoms, but when they are detected, the first step of treatment is regular observation over time. For some cysts, doctors take a sample of the fluid to test for cancer or precancerous cells.

When pancreatic cysts cause symptoms, they can include persistent abdominal pain that may radiate to the back, a palpable mass in the upper abdomen, nausea and vomiting, according to Mayo Clinic. Cysts that require medical attention have additional symptoms. An infected cyst can cause fever along with persistent abdominal pain. A burst pseudocyst is dangerous, and it causes symptoms such as fainting, severe abdominal pain, weak heartbeat, rapid heartbeat and vomiting blood.

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