How are pancreatic cysts treated?
Every patient at Miami Cancer Institute receives a personalized treatment plan put together by our team of pancreatic specialists. Our philosophy is to find the plan that effectively treats your cysts and monitors closely for potential cancerous growth. Your care team will consider your specific diagnosis and type of cyst.
In some cases, your care team may decide use surgery to remove the cyst. We may use surgery if the cyst is:
- Larger than 3 cm.
- The main duct that drains the pancreas is widened (dilated).
- The cyst is causing pain or putting pressure on other parts of the body, such as the bile ducts.
- The cyst is solid or partially solid.
The surgical oncologists at Miami Cancer Institute are experts in many forms of cutting-edge surgical treatments for pancreatic cysts, including minimally-invasive laparoscopic and robotic surgery techniques.
We may use other, open surgical procedures such as:
- The Whipple Procedure. During this procedure, surgeons remove the right side of the pancreas (head), the lower half of the bile duct, part of the small intestine, gallbladder, surrounding lymph nodes and sometimes part of the stomach. The surgeons then re-join the rest of the small intestine, stomach and pancreas so the body can still digest food.
- Distal pancreatectomy. During this procedure surgeons remove the left side (tail) of the pancreas and sometimes part of the body of the pancreas and spleen.
- Total pancreatectomy. During this procedure surgeons remove the entire pancreas, part of the stomach, gallbladder, part of the small intestine, part of the bile duct, spleen and nearby lymph nodes.
If you undergo surgery to treat pancreatic cysts, our specialists will work with you to provide a faster, less painful recovery process that involves fewer tubes and drains. Miami Cancer Institute is well known for this enhanced recovery program, which aims to improve the patient experience before and after surgery.
If the risk of surgery is greater than the chance the cyst contains cancer, your care team may recommend monitoring the cyst. Depending on the type of cyst you have, your care team may recommend surveillance in addition to surgery.
With surveillance, you will go in for regular diagnostic and imaging tests to check and see whether the cyst has made changes that could be cancerous. Testing usually happens every 6-12 months, but varies depending on your condition and the type of cyst you have. Your care team will work with you to develop a surveillance program that works best for your needs and overall heath.