Pancreatic trauma: Demographics, diagnosis, and management

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American Surgeon


Pancreatic injuries are rare, with penetrating mechanisms being causative in majority of cases. They can create major diagnostic and therapeutic challenges and require multiple diagnostic modalities, including multislice high-definition computed tomography, magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, ultrasonography, and at times, surgery and direct visualization of the pancreas. Pancreatic trauma is frequently associated with duodenal and other severe vascular and visceral injuries. Mortality is high and usually related to the concomitant vascular injury. Surgical management of pancreatic and pancreatic-duodenal trauma is challenging, and multiple surgical approaches and techniques have been described, up to and including pancreatic damage control and later resection and reconstruction. Wide surgical drainage is a key to any surgical trauma technique and access for enteral nutrition, or occasionally parenteral nutrition, are important adjuncts. Morbidity associated with pancreatic trauma is high and can be quite severe. Treatment of pancreatic trauma-related complications often requires a combination of interventional, endoscopic, and surgical approaches.

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