New technology allows minimally invasive fix for pancreatic cysts

AxiosStent.jpgPancreatic cysts, the fluid collections caused by pancreatic inflammation, can be painful and dangerous.

Some pancreatic cysts will resolve without treatment, but if they don’t, and if they grow larger or become infected they can cause abdominal pain, loss of appetite, nausea and vomiting.

Typically stubborn cysts were resolved using surgery, but there is a new minimally invasive treatment option available at Tucson Medical Center to people suffering from certain types of pancreatic cyst.

The new method involves draining the cyst using a non-surgical approach. Using an endoscope (a tube with a light and camera) the physician places a specialized stent, called an AXIOS stent, between the pancreas and the gastrointestinal tract where it will drain the cyst.

The endoscope camera allows a direct view of the GI tract.  The Doppler ultrasound capability ensures physicians can avoid blood vessels and find a safe site for drainage into the GI tract. These safety features, coupled with the shortened procedure time compared to the typical surgery make it a great option for those patients who qualify.

The procedure is not appropriate for all patients, based on the size and amount of fluid in a cyst, but it is a good option for those who qualify. “The pancreas, which produces the insulin that controls blood sugar levels, is a very fragile organ with a very important job, so any time we can have a less invasive approach, it is worth exploring that option,” said Mahala Castle, manager of the GI Lab.

The stent is removed within 60 days and requires some followup appointments to ensure the best outcomes.

For more information about AXIOS stent procedure at Tucson Medical Center, consult your primary care doctor.

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Tucson Medical Center | 5301 E. Grant Road | Tucson, Arizona 85712 | (520) 327-5461
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