Endoscopic approach to the diagnosis and treatment of pancreatic disease

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Purpose of review

The purpose of this review is to examine the recent developments in the use of endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography (ERCP) and endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) in the management of patients with pancreatic-biliary disease.

Recent findings

The use of ERCP to guide selective placement of pancreatic sphincterotomes, stone extraction balloons, and stents enables clinicians to treat pancreatic sphincteric and ductal disorders. Pancreatic stones are a remediable cause of recurrent pancreatitis and small calculi can be easily removed. The gold standard for the diagnosis of pancreas divisum remains ERCP and sphincterotomy is highly effective in the treatment of relapsing pancreatitis. Intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms are the most common pancreatic malignancy and ERCP, as well as EUS can identify and sample the solid and cystic lesions. Mural nodules can be detected and sampled effectively by EUS-fine needle aspiration (FNA). The sensitivity of EUS-FNA for pancreatic adenocarcinoma is excellent (more than 85%). Although cyst fluid carcinoembryonic antigen is a very good marker for the presence of a mucinous cystic lesion, it is not an indicator of malignancy.


In summary, ERCP and EUS are important tools for the management of benign and malignant lesions of the pancreas.

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