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Minimally Invasive Approaches to the Management of Pancreatic Pseudocysts: Review of the Literature

Bhattacharya, Debashis MS, FRCS; Ammori, Basil J. MD, FRCS

Surgical Laparoscopy, Endoscopy & Percutaneous Techniques: June 2003 - Volume 13 - Issue 3 - p 141–148

Although one third or more of pancreatic pseudocysts might resolve spontaneously, interventional therapy is required for most. Several minimally invasive management approaches are now available, including percutaneous drainage under radiologic control, endoscopic transpapillary or transmural drainage, and laparoscopic internal drainage. This paper reviews the methodology, applications, advantages, shortcomings, and results of these management approaches. A computerized search was made of the MEDLINE, PREMEDLINE, and EMBASE databases using the search words pancreatic and pseudocysts and all relevant articles in English Language or with English abstracts were retrieved. In addition, cross-references from the identified articles were reviewed. Percutaneous drainage is best applied to pseudocysts complicated with secondary infection and in critically ill patients or those unfit for surgery. Radiologic drainage, however, risks the introduction of secondary infection and the formation of an external pancreatic fistula, and is associated with high recurrence rates. Endoscopic transpapillary drainage is beneficial for pseudocysts that communicate with the pancreatic duct and when a dependent drainage could be established. Endoscopic transmural (transgastric or transduodenal) drainage offers good results in the management of suitably located pseudocysts that complicate chronic pancreatitis, but is associated with high rates of failure to drain, secondary infection, and recurrence when pseudocysts that complicate acute necrotizing pancreatitis are approached. Laparoscopic pseudocyst gastrostomy or pseudocyst jejunostomy achieves adequate internal drainage, facilitates concomitant debridement of necrotic tissue within acute pseudocysts, and achieves good results with minimal morbidity. A randomized controlled trial that compares laparoscopic and endoscopic drainage techniques of retrogastric pseudocysts of chronic pancreatitis is required.

From the Manchester Royal Infirmary, Oxford Road, Manchester, United Kingdom.

Received August 29, 2002; accepted January 6, 2003.

Address correspondence and reprint requests to Dr. Basil J. Ammori, Manchester Royal Infirmary, Oxford Road, Manchester M13 9WL, United Kingdom. Address electronic mail to:

© 2003 Lippincott Williams & Wilkins, Inc.