A pancreatic abscess is an area filled with pus within the pancreas.
Pancreatic abscesses develop in people who have pancreatic pseudocysts that become infected.
Exams and Tests
Most people with pancreatic abscesses have had pancreatitis. However, the complication often takes 7 or more days to develop.
Signs of an abscess can be seen on:
It may be possible to drain the abscess through the skin (percutaneous). Abscess drainage can be done through an endoscope using endoscopic ultrasound (EUS) in some cases. Surgery to drain the abscess and remove dead tissue is often needed.
How well a person does depends on how severe the infection is. The death rate from undrained pancreatic abscesses is very high.
Complications may include:
When to Contact a Medical Professional
Call your health care provider if you have abdominal pain with fever or other signs of a pancreatic abscess, especially if you have recently had a pancreatic pseudocyst or pancreatitis.
Draining a pancreatic pseudocyst may help prevent some cases of pancreatic abscess. However, in many cases the disorder is not preventable.
Barshak MB. Pancreatic infection. In: Bennett JE, Dolin R, Blaser MJ, eds. Mandell, Douglas, and Bennett's Principles and Practice of Infectious Diseases. 8th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2015:chap 78.
Forsmark CE. Pancreatitis. In: Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Goldman's Cecil Medicine. 25th ed. Philadelphia, PA: Elsevier Saunders; 2016:chap 144.