Pancreas Care

Frequently Asked Questions

The Pancreas Care Center provides answers to frequently asked questions, including how to prepare for your first visit and pain management. If you have a question, please email

The Pancreas Care Center at Cincinnati Children’s is one of the only centers in the United States that is dedicated to caring for children with pancreatic diseases. Patients come to the center from across the country and around the world to receive an expert diagnosis and advanced care for acute, recurrent and chronic pancreatitis, as well as pancreatic tumors, pancreatic insufficiency and pancreatic birth defects. We offer comprehensive therapies, including:

Families may “self refer”—a physician referral is not necessary. However, with your permission, we would like to be in communication with your child’s pediatrician or pediatric gastroenterologist so that we are better prepared for your child’s first visit.

When your child is referred to our center, the intake coordinator becomes your family’s initial point person. She will call you to talk about your child’s medical history and past treatment, ask what your goals are in coming to Cincinnati Children’s, and answer any questions you may have. 

After collecting the background information, a nurse and physician from the pancreas team will share it with the rest of the pancreas care team in a meeting led by our expert physicians. If team members feel they can offer your child helpful and therapeutic treatment options, the intake coordinator will let you know and begin creating a schedule for your first visit.

Our team will schedule your child’s initial evaluation as soon as possible! We offer clinics throughout the month. The intake coordinator usually is able to schedule your child’s initial evaluation within a few weeks of receiving the referral, sooner if the situation is urgent.


Our intake coordinator, nurses and social workers will help guide and assist you in coordinating a well-planned visit to our center. This may include:

  • Requesting test results from your child’s pediatrician or pediatric gastroenterologist
  • Scheduling any additional tests your child needs prior to your first appointment at the Pancreas Care Center
  • Helping you find lodging 
  • Answering any questions you may have

Prior to your visit, be sure to write down your questions for the medical team. We ask that you arrive 30 minutes early for your child’s first appointment.

During your child’s first visit to the Pancreas Care Center, our team will get to know your child personally. This visit:

  • Can last one to a few days
  • Will include appointments with different pediatric subspecialists
  • May involve diagnostic testing and/or therapeutic procedures, which will be scheduled as conveniently as possible for you and your child. 

Your child may need to spend a night at the hospital, especially if the team plans to perform a procedure such as an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP).

At the end of or shortly following your first visit, our team will discuss findings with you and make treatment recommendations that include short-term solutions and long-term strategies to help your child experience the best health possible and enjoy a good quality of life. Once your child becomes a patient at the Pancreas Care Center, these specialists will meet frequently to discuss how your child is progressing and to identify ways to enhance care. They will communicate with your child’s referring physician to summarize their findings and provide recommendations for your child’s care.

Whenever possible, we encourage families to receive treatment close to home rather than returning to Cincinnati Children’s for future visits. However, there may be times when returning to Cincinnati Children’s will be helpful (such as for certain procedures or specialized testing). 

As patients near adulthood, our social workers help them make a smooth transition to an adult care provider. 

During your child’s first appointment, our team will give you a sense of how soon the treatment plan will be ready, and when treatment can start. The timing is different for every child, because every child has unique needs. Please know that we share your desire to begin treatment quickly and will do all we can to make that happen!

Our team includes pediatric pain specialists, pain psychologists and nurses who will help manage your child’s current pain symptoms and develop a pain management plan for the future as well. This plan can include:

  • Painkillers, such as acetaminophen and ibuprofen
  • Opioids, such as tramadol
  • Maintaining a nutrient-rich diet that include fruits, vegetables, whole grains, low fat dairy products, and other lean protein sources, as well as avoiding greasy and fried foods.
  • Strategies and skills to help your child cope
  • Comfort and distraction techniques
  • Inpatient care, if at-home pain relief strategies aren’t working

Learn more about pancreas pain management at Cincinnati Children's

Yes. We can perform genetic testing for pancreatic diseases at the Molecular Genetic Laboratory at Cincinnati Children’s. Genetic testing helps identify whether your child’s pancreatic disease is related to a genetic cause. Our genetic counselor is available to discuss testing options, review results and answer questions before and after testing.

In addition, if a genetic cause is identified, we can test family members who are experiencing similar symptoms or perhaps no symptoms at all. This testing can provide helpful information that may indicate an increased risk of developing pancreatitis, diabetes or even pancreatic cancer in the future. Be sure to ask your nurse about genetic testing and genetic counseling before your first appointment.

Plan Your Visit: To ensure your family’s time with us is as stress-free and comfortable as possible, Cincinnati Children’s offers Concierge Services to help you plan travel details. Find out how we can help before and during your visit.

Prepare for Your Overnight Stay: Cincinnati Children’s takes many steps to make this time comfortable for your entire family. Get resources to prepare for your stay.

We are committed to providing healthcare for children, regardless of family income. Learn more about our financial assistance programs, and find out if you qualify.
Cincinnati Children’s strives to accept a wide variety of health plans. Learn more about our accepted coverage plans, including commercial insurance plans, marketplace exchange plans and Medicaid plans.

Research That Enhances Clinical Care

Cincinnati Children’s is a leader in conducting research to better understand the underlying causes of pediatric pancreatic disorders. We maintain a patient registry, and use the data to identify ways to standardize patient care protocols in order to minimize exposure to narcotics, shorten hospital stays and improve clinical outcomes. Patients who are eligible for other research studies at the Pancreas Care Center and are interested in participating are encouraged to do so.

Pancreas Video Playlist

Watch a collection of videos produced by Cincinnati Children's Pancreas Care Center, including: 

  • Treating Pancreatitis with ERCP
  • What is TPIAT? (medical animation)
  • Surgeries for Pancreatic Disorders 
  • The Pancreas Care Center Overview
  • Diabetes after TPIAT Surgery
  • Pain Management for Pancreatitis
  • Pediatric ERCP

Watch Now