Our team cares for the with a full spectrum of pancreatic disorders and conditions, including:
- Acute, recurrent and chronic pancreatitis. Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas, which can last days, months and, in some cases, years. Mild pancreatitis may go away without treatment, but severe or recurrent cases can last for a long time and cause serious, long-term complications.
- Autoimmune pancreatitis. This chronic inflammation is likely caused by the body's immune system attacking the pancreas.
- Birth defects, including:
- Annular pancreas, a condition in which tissue from the pancreas surrounds the small intestine in the abdomen. When this happens, the small intestine can become blocked, which can affect a person’s ability to digest food.
- Pancreas divisum occurs when parts of the ducts in the pancreas do not join together properly during prenatal development. This can cause blockage in the pancreatic duct, which can result in pancreatitis.
- Exocrine pancreatic insufficiency. This digestive condition occurs when the pancreas is damaged and stops producing enough digestive enzymes. It is associated with malabsorption (the inability to absorb certain nutrients from food). For this complication, our center is capable of performing testing that is not readily available at most pediatric centers, such as endoscopic and radiological function testing to assess the degree of insufficiency. These tests help our team make the best plan of action for treatment.
- Pancreatic cysts and pseudocysts. Pancreatic cysts are sac-like pockets of fluid surrounding or inside the pancreas. Pancreatic pseudocysts are noncancerous pockets of fluid that are lined with scar tissue and inflammation. These cysts may resolve on their own, while other times, if causing significant symptoms, they may require drainage or operation.
- Pancreatic tumors. These tumors can be malignant (cancerous) or benign. Our physicians work with oncologists at Cincinnati Children’s to care for patients with malignant tumors such as pancreatoblastomas, as well as those associated with von Hippel-Lindau syndrome or other neuroendocrine tumors.
- Pancreatic trauma. This occurs when the pancreas is injured due to an incident such as a car accident or fall. A multidisciplinary approach by our team to such an event ensures the best recovery.
Treatment Options / Surgery
Surgical procedures are performed by our hepatopancreaticobiliary and transplant surgery specialists, and endoscopic procedures such as endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) are performed by an ERCP-fellowship trained, pediatric endoscopist with in-depth endoscopic experience.
Frequent care conferences provide opportunities for our specialists to discuss how each patient is progressing and to look for ways to enhance their care. As patients near adulthood, our social workers help them make a smooth transition to an adult provider. Learn more about the comprehensive treatment options for children with pancreatic disorders.