Endoscopic management of pancreatic pseudocysts

Gastroenterol Clin North Am. 2012 Mar;41(1):47-62. doi: 10.1016/j.gtc.2011.12.007. Epub 2012 Jan 5.


Techniques of endoscopic pseudocyst management continue to evolve, but the principles of proper patient selection and careful consideration of the available therapeutic options remain unchanged. Endoscopic management is considered first-line therapy in the treatment of symptomatic pseudocysts. Clinicians should be vigilant in the evaluation of all peripancreatic fluid collections to exclude the presence of a pancreatic cystic neoplasm and avoid draining an immature collection. Expectant management with periodic observation should be considered for the minimally symptomatic patients, even after the traditional 6 weeks of maturation. Further, symptoms, complications, and expansion on serial imaging should prompt intervention by endoscopic, surgical, or percutaneous methods. Pseudocysts should only be punctured when the wall has had sufficient time to mature and after pseudoaneurysm has been ruled out by careful imaging. Small to moderately sized pseudocysts (< 4–6 cm) that communicate with the pancreatic duct are good candidates for endoscopic transpapillary stenting. For larger lesions requiring transmural drainage, EUS guidance is preferable, but good results can be achieved with ENL. EUS may be particularly useful in permitting drainage in patients with suspected perigastric varices or if an endoscopically visible bulge is not apparent. Necrosis is a significant factor for a worse outcome; aggressive debridement with nasocystic or percutaneous endoscopic gastrostomy-cystic catheter lavage plus manual endoscopic techniques for clearing debris should be used. Endoscopic failure, especially in cases with significant necrosis, should be managed operatively. Percutaneous drainage is a good option for immature infected pseudocysts or in patients who are not optimal candidates for other procedures. Close cooperation between endoscopists, surgeons, interventional radiologists, and other healthcare providers is paramount in successfully managing these patients.

Publication types

  • Review

MeSH terms

  • Diagnosis, Differential
  • Drainage / methods
  • Endoscopy, Digestive System* / methods
  • Endosonography
  • Humans
  • Pancreatic Neoplasms / diagnosis
  • Pancreatic Pseudocyst / diagnosis*
  • Pancreatic Pseudocyst / surgery*