Cystic lesions and intraductal neoplasms of the pancreas

Kenneth E Fasanella, Kevin McGrath
Best Practice & Research. Clinical Gastroenterology 2009, 23 (1): 35-48
Pancreatic cystic lesions are being detected more frequently given increased use of cross-sectional imaging modalities. The most common cysts encountered are mucinous cysts, which have malignant potential. As many of these lesions are incidental findings, it is important to further evaluate them with endoscopic ultrasound-guided fine needle aspiration for diagnostic purposes and risk stratification. These cysts either require surgical resection or surveillance given the malignant risk. Mucinous cystic neoplasms should be resected. Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasia (IPMN) has consensus-guideline indications for resection. These include main duct diameter > or = 10 mm, a branch duct size > or = 3 cm, presence of a mural nodule, or cytology suspicious for malignancy. Additionally, all symptomatic cysts, regardless of etiology, should undergo resection. Branch duct IPMN is less aggressive that the main duct variety, and may be conservatively followed. However, the development of an established indication for resection should prompt surgery. Despite generalized guidelines, decisions regarding management of pancreatic cysts should be individualized, accounting for the malignant risk of the lesion and the surgical risk of the patient.

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