​Pancreatic Pseudocysts​​

The pancreas is a large, spongy gland located behind your stomach. It secrets enzymes that your body needs to digest food and hormones necessary to regulate your blood sugar levels. If your pancreas is injured or damaged, its ducts, which store enzyme-containing juices, may become obstructed. This can cause a pancreatic pseudocyst to form, which is a sac filled with fluid.  

Damage to the pancreas is often caused by inflammation, known as pancreatitis. Another less common source is trauma, like a blow to the abdomen for instance. Gallstones are also a common cause of pancreatitis. 

The most common symptoms of pancreatic pseudocysts are abdominal bloating and persistent pain (in the upper area of your stomach, which may radiate to your back). Other symptoms include:

  • Nausea 

  • Vomiting 

  • Decrease in appetite 

  • Difficulty eating and digesting food

  • Unintentional weight loss 

  • A mass in your abdomen that is usually not tender to touch 

  • Yellowing of your skin and eyes (symptoms of jaundice)​​​

You should visit a doctor working with the GI and Surgery Service Line​ at The Aga Khan University Hospital if you notice any symptoms related to pancreatic pseudocysts, or notice any symptoms that worry you. You should visit your doctor immediately if you notice any of the following symptoms:

  • A persistent high fever

  • Severe pain in the upper part of your stomach, and pain that radiates to your back

  • Unexplained fainting 

  • Throwing up blood 

  • A weak, but rapid heartbeat​​​

Your time with your doctor maybe limited, so make sure to prepare for your visit beforehand. Here​ are some tips to help get you started.​​

If you visit your doctor with symptoms that resemble pancreatic pseudocysts, they will begin by examining your medical record and history. As the pancreas is situated deep within the abdominal cavity, pancreatic cysts and pseudocysts are often located and diagnosed with the help of imaging. Some diagnostic methods may include:

  • Ultrasound – to detect pancreatic pseudocysts, or gallstones that may potentially lead to a pseudocyst.

  • Abdominal Computerized Tomography (CT) scan – this will usually help to provide all the information necessary to make an accurate diagnosis, including details of your anatomy and pathology information. 

  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) scan – this will provide sharp images of the fluid and debris in a pseudocyst.​​​

Pseudocysts often heal and go away themselves. However, if a pseudocyst is persistent, becomes larger or causes symptoms, it will require treatment.  Most often, treatment involves an endoscopic or surgical operation.  

The treatment for pseudocysts involves making a connection between the pseudocyst and a nearby digestive organ usually stomach or small bowel. This enables the fluid in the pseudocyst to be rerouted and drained though that organ. 

This procedure may be performed endoscopically with a flexible camera passed into your stomach through mouth and opening of cyst into your stomach, laparoscopically, which means that the surgery would involve smaller incisions in your abdomen, lean tools, and a scope with a light at the end or open surgery. Every treatment has advantages and disadvantages. Your doctor can​​

Please click here​ for some guidelines on “what to do before your surgery”​​​

​Please click here​ for some guidelines on “what to do on the day of your surgery”​​

All surgical procedures involve a degree of risk. For pancreatic pseudocysts, these include:

  • Risks associated with anaesthesia – such as drowsiness, severe allergic reaction or blood pressure problems. 

  • Bleeding

  • Infection 

  • Recurrence of pseudocyst ​​​

Please click here​ for some guidelines on "what to do on after your surgery"​​

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers various support services to help with managing or recovering from the disease or condition. These include but are not limited to nutrition, physiotherapy, rehabilitation, specialized clinics and some patient support groups. Your doctor or nurse will advise you accordingly.

The Aga Khan University Hospital offers financial assistance to those who are in need and fulfil the eligibility criteria. For further information, you can contact the Patient Welfare Department. You can find the contact number of the Patient Welfare Department in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.

The financial counselling staff is available during office hours, at the main PBSD (Patient Business Services Department), to answer your financial queries on treatments’ costs and authorize admissions on partial deposit as per hospital policies allow. The financial counsellor in the emergency room is open 24/7. You can find the contact number of the Patient Business Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.​​

Your doctor and or nurse will give you specific instructions about the prescribed medication. Please ensure that you take or use the prescribed medicine as advised. It can be dangerous to your health if you self-prescribe. Please inform the doctor or nurse beforehand if you have experienced any adverse reactions to any medications in the past. If you experience any symptoms of drug poisoning, overdose or severe reaction please contact the Pharmacy Service at The Aga Khan University Hospital immediately. You can find the contact number of the Pharmacy Services in the ‘Important Numbers’ section on the website homepage.​​

​​The information provided on our website is for educational purposes and not intended to be a substitute for medical advice, diagnosis or treatment. You should always seek the advice of your doctor or other healthcare professional provider.