Surgical Versus Nonsurgical Management of Pancreatic Pseudocysts

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GoalsCompare patient characteristics and outcome and also physician referral patterns between surgically and nonsurgically managed patients with pancreatic pseudocysts.BackgroundTreatment of pancreatic pseudocysts can be accomplished by surgical, endoscopic, or percutaneous procedures. The ideal treatment method has not yet been defined.PatientsAll patients treated for pancreatic pseudocyst between 1999 and 2005 were identified in our health services database. Patients were treated with surgical, endoscopic, and percutaneous drainage procedures at the discretion of the treating physician. Main outcome measures included complications, pseudocyst resolution, and treatment modality as a function of the treating physician's specialty.ResultsThirty patients (49%) were treated surgically, 24 endoscopically (39%), and 7 (11%) with percutaneous drainage. The most common indications for treatment were symptoms of pain, and biliary or gastric outlet obstruction (81%). Patients treated surgically and endoscopically were similar in terms of age (49 vs. 52 y), mean cyst diameter (9.1 vs. 9.5 cm, P=0.74), incidence of chronic pancreatitis (50% vs. 32%, P=0.26) and complicated pancreaticobiliary disease (69% vs. 60%). There were no differences in complications (20% vs. 21%) or pseudocyst resolution (93.3% vs. 87.5%, P=0.39) between the surgical and endoscopic groups. There was no significant difference in the rate of surgical versus nonsurgical treatment in patients initially evaluated by surgeons versus nonsurgeons.ConclusionsSurgical and endoscopic interventions for pancreatic pseudocysts are equally safe and effective with percutaneous drainage playing a less important role. Endoscopic drainage should be considered for initial therapy in appropriate patients.

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