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What sort of treatments are used for problems with the pancreas?

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Quick Answer

Depending on the problem, treatments used for the pancreas include insulin, pseudocyst drainage, pseudocyst surgery and pancreatic cancer resection, according to WebMD. Other treatments for pancreas issues include pancreatic enzymes, pancreas transplantation and islet cell transplantation.

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Full Answer

For minor pancreas problems or chronic conditions such as diabetes, insulin is often used as a treatment, explains WebMD. If a person has a pseudocyst, a common pancreas issue, treatment includes either draining the cyst or surgical removal if the cyst is painful or large. Surgery is done either via laparoscopy or laparotomy.

If the issue is pancreatic cancer, the main treatment is known as the Whipple procedure, according to WebMD. In addition to removing the head of the pancreas, this procedure also removes the duodenum and the gallbladder. Sometimes, part of the stomach is removed as well. If pancreas issues are due to cystic fibrosis, treatment includes pancreatic enzymes, as the pancreas does not make them on its own. For some people, such as those with diabetes and cystic fibrosis, pancreas problems are very serious, and the only treatment is a pancreas transplant.

An experimental treatment that involves taking insulin-producing cells from a donor and transplanting them into the problem pancreas is also available, WebMD reports. This procedure could potentially serve as a cure for type 1 diabetes.

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