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Accessory Pancreas

What is Accessory Pancreas?

Accessory Pancreas, also known as Ectopic Pancreas, is the name given to a genetic anomaly where the patient has pancreatic tissue outside of the actual pancreas. According to an Handbook of Stem Cells article review, 70–90% of the time, the accessory pancreas is found in the intestine or the stomach.

Accessory Pancreas cases have been reported to range from 0.6 to 5.6% of population. The pancreatic tissue found outside the pancreas can be affected by pancreatitis and pancreatic tumors, just like the pancreas gland itself.

What are the symptoms of Accessory Pancreas?

According to The International Journal of Surgery, chronic symptoms in Accessory Pancreas patients are dependent on location and appear in ectopic tissue that is 2 cm or larger. When symptoms do appear, they are most likely to include:
  • Epigastric pain (77%)
  • Abdominal fullness (30%)
  • Diarrhea
  • Nausea
  • Crampy abdominal pain
  • Weight loss
  • Tarry stool

What causes Accessory Pancreas?

During the embryonic stage of development, the anomaly causes migration of pancreatic cells outside of the pancreas gland.

How is Accessory Pancreas diagnosed?

Use of CT scan can be used to diagnose Accessory Pancreas. 45% of the time the tool that is used to diagnose Accessory Pancreas is a barium study. The ectopic pancreatic tissue contains a central small collection of barium, which demonstrates umbilication. On upper gastrointestinal examination, an ectopic pancreas appears as an extramucosal, smooth, broad-based lesion either along the greater curvature of the gastric antrum or in the proximal duodenum.

What are the treatments for Accessory Pancreas?

Depending on the location, surgery may be successful in removing the ectopic pancreatic tissue.

Where can I find out more about Accessory Pancreas?

Accessory Pancreas Articles