Blunt injury to the pancreas in children: selective management based on ultrasound

J Pediatr Surg. 1987 Dec;22(12):1110-6. doi: 10.1016/s0022-3468(87)80719-4.


Twenty-one children with blunt injuries to the pancreas were treated over a 5-year period. Group I consisted of 12 patients brought to our hospital within 24 hours of injury. Group II included nine patients who were referred to us more than 24 hours after injury following initial treatment at another hospital. Two group I patients died within four hours of admission from other causes. Three had early laparotomy for other injuries. Of these, two had a contusion and one had a complete transection of the pancreas. All recovered uneventfully after appropriate surgical treatment. The remaining seven were all treated nonoperatively. Two had obstructive pancreatitis secondary to duodenal hematomas, three had pancreatic contusions, and two developed pancreatic pseudocysts. All seven recovered completely without operation. In group II, three patients had undergone laparotomy elsewhere. All three had pancreatic contusions. However, only one had appropriate drainage of the injured pancreas; he recovered uneventfully. Two, who were not drained, developed pseudocysts and one of these required surgical drainage by cystgastrostomy. The other six patients in group II presented to our hospital with established pseudocysts. Three of these resolved with nonoperative treatment but three required drainage. Overall, six of ten posttraumatic pancreatic pseudocysts resolved without surgical treatment. The single most useful diagnostic test in the management of these patients was abdominal ultrasound (US). US revealed specific anatomic lesions of the pancreas--contusion, obstructive pancreatitis, or pseudocyst--and provided an objective guide to management. Surgical intervention is not necessary in all cases of pancreatic trauma.

MeSH terms

  • Adolescent
  • Child
  • Child, Preschool
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Male
  • Pancreas / injuries*
  • Pancreatic Pseudocyst / etiology
  • Pancreatic Pseudocyst / therapy
  • Ultrasonography*
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / complications
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / diagnosis
  • Wounds, Nonpenetrating / surgery*