The pancreas produces digestive enzymes and hormones to regulate the body. Swelling and inflammation of the pancreas are referred to as pancreatitis. It can range in onset and duration from acute to chronic. In addition to differentiating between acute and chronic, it is also important that we sort out the cause of the pancreatitis, as treatment options will vary.
Learn more about pancreatitis:
Acute pancreatitis is a sudden, sustained pain that may require hospitalization. It ranges in severity from mild to severe, and as it worsens it can impact other organs’ systems. Its causes are varied but include gallstones, alcohol, certain medications, procedures on the pancreas, high triglycerides, hereditary forms, and other rare causes. The goals in treatment are to control the pain and limit the impact on the body’s other systems, while identifying the cause of the attack. Patients with acute pancreatitis may need surgical treatment during or after an episode to either drain fluid or remove dead or infected tissue. These treatment options are reviewed in each case by a team of surgeons, interventional radiologists, and gastroenterologists, and decisions about how best to proceed are tailored to the specific patient. Learn more.
Three hallmark symptoms for chronic pancreatitis include frequent pain, diabetes, diarrhea, and weight loss. Imaging can be used to confirm a diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis. Treatment options will vary from observation to the complete removal of the pancreas, called total pancreatectomy. Some patients can be considered for a procedure called total pancreatectomy with auto islet transplantation. Learn more.
Hereditary pancreatitis can lead to either acute or chronic pancreatitis. A family history and predisposition to pancreatitis may also elevate cancer risk, which is why it is important that we keep an eye on your symptoms in a clinical setting. We offer genetic testing and close observation in our High Risks Screening Clinic.
Have You Heard of Auto Islet Cell Transplant?
A diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis may mean total removal of the pancreas. One side effect of this procedure is the onset of diabetes. If your gland produces enough insulin prior to surgery, you may be a candidate for an additional procedure called autologous islet cell transplant, where we infuse your own islet cells to minimize and even prevent diabetes from occurring.
Learn more about this procedure.