The size of pancreatic pseudocyst does not influence the outcome of invasive treatments

Dig Liver Dis. 2004 Feb;36(2):135-40. doi: 10.1016/j.dld.2003.06.005.


Background: Authors generally agree that Giant Pancreatic Pseudocysts (> 10 cm) have a lower spontaneous resolution and are more difficult to treat than smaller pancreatic pseudocysts. This study was carried out on two groups of patients with larger and smaller pancreatic pseudocysts (pancreatic pseudocysts > 10 cm versus pancreatic pseudocysts < 10 cm), and aims to establish whether the size of pancreatic pseudocysts is a factor influencing treatment outcomes.

Patients and methods: In a retrospective study, we examined 71 patients with pancreatic pseudocysts following an episode of acute pancreatitis, which were treated in our hospital from 1980 to 2000. Forty-one (57.5%) patients had a large pancreatic pseudocyst. Most patients underwent invasive treatments: 9 (12.6%) had percutaneous drainage, 37 (52.1%) open surgery and 13 (18.3%) endoscopic cyst gastrostomy. 12 patients (16.9%) of the 71 were cured with medical therapy alone.

Results: As far as the aetiology of the pancreatitis, location and number of the cysts were concerned, no major differences emerged between the two groups, although large pancreatic pseudocysts followed more severe pancreatitis (P = 0.0005). All giant pancreatic pseudocysts required invasive treatments; 40% of the pancreatic pseudocysts < 10 cm were successfully treated with medical therapy alone. No statistical differences were found regarding hospital mortality, morbidity, recurrence rate and hospital stay among the patients treated invasively.

Conclusions: Giant pancreatic pseudocysts more often require invasive therapy due to persistent symptoms or complications. Treatment outcomes do not seem to be influenced by the size of the pancreatic pseudocysts.

Publication types

  • Comparative Study

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Aged
  • Body Weights and Measures
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System / methods
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Length of Stay
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Pancreatic Pseudocyst / physiopathology*
  • Pancreatic Pseudocyst / therapy*
  • Recurrence
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Surgical Procedures, Operative / methods*
  • Treatment Outcome