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Treating Pancreatic Disease

The pancreas is a small gland that lies behind the stomach and in front of the spine. It is responsible for producing digestive juices that help break down food and for producing hormones that control blood sugar.

Treating Pancreatic Disease on Long Island at NYU Winthrop-University’ Pancreatic Disease Center

NYU Winthrop Hospital’s Center for Pancreatic Diseases on Long Island, NY dedicates comprehensive resources to the accurate diagnosis and treatment of patients suffering from pancreatic disease symptoms.

Staffed by the region’s leading gastroenterologists, surgeons, oncologists and radiologists, the Center treats thousands of patients annually. Our multidisciplinary team of physicians collaborates in the development of a personalized care plan to ensure optimal outcomes for each patient.

Pancreatic diseases include:

  • Acute and chronic pancreatitis – sudden or ongoing inflammation of the pancreas
  • Autoimmune pancreatitis – a rare condition with similar symptoms to pancreatic cancer
  • Pancreatic cysts – Sacs of fluid form either on or in the pancreas.
  • Pancreatic malignancy – Most pancreatic cancers begin in the ducts that carry pancreatic juices.
  • Pancreatic insufficiency – Food cannot be properly digested as a result of a deficiency in the enzymes produced by the pancreas.
  • Pancreatic divisum – a birth defect of the pancreatic duct

Pancreatic disease symptoms include:

  • Pain in the upper abdomen
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Pain that increases after eating
  • Pain that radiates to the back
  • Abdomen that is tender to the touch
  • Weight loss
  • Foul smelling stool

Pancreatic Disease Diagnosis and Testing

The Center’s state-of-the-art diagnostic options include:

  • Blood tests check pancreatic function and signs of related conditions such as infection, anemia (low blood count), and dehydration.
  • Secretin stimulation test measures the activity of the pancreas in people with diseases that affect the pancreas (e.g., cystic fibrosis or pancreatic cancer)
  • Fecal Elastase Test checks pancreatic function
  • Serologic and stool testing evaluates for pancreatic insufficiency
  • Endoscopic ultrasound scan provides highly detailed images of abnormalities
  • Abdominal ultrasound detects gallstones, abscesses or pancreatic pseudocysts.
  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography uses a dye to highlight the structure of the common bile duct, other bile ducts, and the pancreatic duct on an x-ray.
  • Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography looks at the pancreatic and bile ducts..

Pancreatic Disease Causes

Pancreatic disease can by caused by various conditions including certain lifestyle choices. Common pancreatic disease causes include:

  • Cancer
  • Alcoholism
  • Cigarette smoking
  • Cystic Fibrosis
  • Hypercalcemia
  • Hypertriglyceridemia
  • Infections
  • Abdominal injury or surgery
  • Side effects of certain medications

Many pancreatic diseases can be prevented by understanding the causes of the condition and then making lifestyle changes to prevent the condition from forming.

Pancreatic Disease Treatment

  • Medical treatment for acute or chronic pancreatitis usually focuses on relieving symptoms and preventing further aggravation to the pancreas. Certain complications may require surgery or a blood transfusion.
  • Endoscopic and surgical management are effective treatments for pancreatic strictures or pseudocysts in the bile or pancreatic ducts.
  • Pancreatic malignancies may be treated with surgery, radiation therapy, chemotherapy and medication.