The Pancreas Care Center offers comprehensive treatment options for children with pancreatic disorders. These include:

  • Medications, such as enzyme replacement therapy, to help children with pancreas disorders digest food properly. Other medications can be helpful in easing symptoms such as nausea.
  • Nutritional therapy Our experienced team can create a personalized nutritional therapy plan, including dietary guidelines, to promote proper healing.  
  • Surgical intervention Certain cases may require surgical procedures, such as pancreas resection, pancreas drainage procedures and total pancreatectomy with islet auto-transplantation (TPIAT).
  • Pain Management Most patients with pancreatitis experience pain, so the Pancreas Care Center offers a range therapies, both medication and non-medication, that focus on improving function and quality of life in the most effective and safe way possible. Learn more about pain management.
  • Pancreatic exocrine function testing Since chronic pancreatitis and other disorders of the pancreas can result in exocrine insufficiency, our physicians may perform direct pancreatic function testing to assess the degree of insufficiency. Missed exocrine insufficiency can result in weight loss, poor growth and malnutrition.
  • Pancreatic endocrine function  Since chronic pancreatitis and other disorders of the pancreas can result in diabetes, our pediatric endocrinologists follow patients closely in the Pancreas Care Center.  They provide specialized measurements of islet cell function to determine the need for insulin or other medications, and also direct the management of glucose control for patients who undergo a TPIAT before and after surgery.

Highly Specialized Procedures

Cincinnati Children’s is one of only a few pediatric medical centers in the country that offers endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) by a pediatric endoscopist and total pancreatectomy and islet auto-transplantation (TPIAT). Both of these procedures require an inpatient stay for recovery.

ERCP  is an endoscopic procedure used to examine the small intestine, bile duct, pancreatic duct and other parts of the gastrointestinal tract. It uses a long, narrow tube with specialized technology to transmit images onto a video screen. In addition to providing diagnostic information, this technology can be used to treat blockages that cause pancreatitis, improve drainage of the pancreas and help with the removal of stones that may develop within the ducts of the pancreas. ERCP is performed by an ERCP-fellowship-trained pediatric endoscopist with extensive endoscopic experience.

TPIAT  is a surgical procedure that our team may recommend for patients with chronic pancreatitis or acute recurrent pancreatitis who have exhausted all other options. This procedure does not take place during your child’s first visit to our center. TPIAT involves removing the entire pancreas and reconstructing the gastrointestinal tract. After the pancreas is removed, it is taken to a laboratory, where skilled technicians remove islet cells, which are responsible for producing insulin and other hormones. The islets are then transplanted into the patient’s body, where they continue to perform essential functions of the pancreas. Although TPIAT is a complex surgery, the operation can be life-changing for patients in whom previous interventions have not resulted  in relief from the painful symptoms of pancreatitis. TPIAT at Cincinnati Children’s is performed by our pediatric transplant surgeons.