Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas caused by activation of its own digestive enzymes inside the organ. Treatments are geared toward helping the pancreas recover from inflammation, preventing problems with other organs such as the kidneys and lungs, and reducing pain and other symptoms.
The University of Chicago Medicine's gastroenterologists and gastrointestinal surgeons are experienced in diagnosing and treating all forms of pancreatitis, which include the following:
- Acute pancreatitis, which is marked by one attack followed by complete recovery of pancreatic function
- Chronic pancreatitis, which is an ongoing problem that typically does not resolve and may lead to chronic pain, exocrine insufficiency and/or endocrine insufficiency
- Hereditary pancreatitis, which is a rare, inherited condition characterized by early onset of repeat episodes of acute pancreatitis, frequently leading to chronic pancreatitis. This condition increases the risk for developing pancreatic cancer
Our pancreatic care team offers the full spectrum of diagnostic and treatment options for pancreatitis. In the few cases where surgical treatment of the pancreas is required, our specialists can perform a number of advanced procedures, including:
- Autologous islet cell transplantation (islet cell autotransplantation) to prevent diabetes or limit diabetes after total pancreatectomy. This treatment is only available at select hospitals.
- Duodenum-sparing pancreatic head resection, including the Beger procedure, the Frey procedure, and the Bern modification.
- Spleen-preserving pancreatic tail resection (distal pancreatectomy)
- Minimally invasive (laparoscopic) pancreatic operations, such as pseudocyst drainage and distal pancreatectomy
- Endoscopic (non-surgical) placement of pancreatic stents and drainage of pancreatic fluid collections