Fatty Pancreas: Should We Be Concerned?

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The metabolic consequences of visceral fat deposition are well known, and the presence of intrapancreatic fat (IPF) has been recognized for decades. However, our knowledge about the distribution of fat in the pancreas and its clinical implications is in a nascent stage. Various terms have been proposed to describe IPF; for the purpose of this narrative review, we chose the general term fatty pancreas. Herein, we describe the radiologic, endoscopic, and histopathologic aspects of diagnosing fatty pancreas and provide an overview of the diseases associated with this condition. Our purpose is to highlight diagnostic challenges and identify specific clinical questions that would benefit from further study. As evident in this review, IPF is associated with various metabolic diseases, pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer, and precancer—yet establishing causality needs careful, further study.

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