Pancreas volume in health and disease: a systematic review and meta-analysis

Expert Rev Gastroenterol Hepatol. 2018 Aug;12(8):757-766. doi: 10.1080/17474124.2018.1496015. Epub 2018 Jul 16.


The pancreas plays a central role in metabolism and is involved in the pathogenesis of several diseases. Pancreas volume is a holistic quantitative measure of pancreas size but the clinical relevance of pancreas volumetry is poorly understood. Areas covered: The aim was to systematically review studies in adults that used computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging to measure pancreas volume in health and disease, to determine normal pancreas volume range, and to quantify changes in pancreas volume that are associated with disease. Expert commentary: The normal pancreas volume range in adults is 71-83 cm3, with no statistically significant difference between men and women. Type 2 diabetes and type 1 diabetes are associated with a progressively reduced pancreas volume. Overweight and obesity are associated with a progressively increased pancreas volume. There is a paucity of studies on pancreas volume in the setting of diseases of the exocrine pancreas, which should become a research priority in the future.

Keywords: Pancreas volume; computed tomography imaging; diabetes; magnetic resonance imaging; obesity; pancreatic diseases.

Publication types

  • Meta-Analysis
  • Review
  • Systematic Review

MeSH terms

  • Diabetes Complications / complications
  • Healthy Volunteers
  • Humans
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging
  • Organ Size
  • Overweight / complications
  • Pancreas / anatomy & histology*
  • Pancreas / diagnostic imaging
  • Pancreas / pathology*
  • Pancreatic Diseases / diagnostic imaging*
  • Pancreatic Diseases / etiology
  • Pancreatic Diseases / pathology
  • Reference Values
  • Tomography, X-Ray Computed