Annular pancreas

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Annular pancreas

Definition

An annular pancreas is a ring of pancreatic tissue that abnormally encircles the duodenum (the part of the small intestine that connects to stomach).

Causes

Annular pancreas is thought to be caused by a malformation during the development of the pancreas, before birth. This condition may result in a narrowing of the duodenum due to squeezing by the ring of pancreas.

Complete obstruction of the duodenum is often seen in newborns with this condition. However, half of the cases occur in adults. There are probably many cases that go undetected due to mild symptoms.

There is an increased incidence of peptic ulcer associated with this condition. Annular pancreas affects approximately 1 in 7,000 people.

Symptoms

  • Fullness after eating
  • Nausea and Vomiting
  • Feeding intolerance in newborns

Exams and Tests

Signs that may indicate annular pancreas include the following:

Tests include:

  • Abdominal x-ray
  • CT scan
  • Upper GI and small bowel series
  • Abdominal ultrasound

Treatment

Surgical bypass of the blocked part of the duodenum is the usual treatment for this disorder.

Outlook (Prognosis)

There is a good prognosis with surgery.

Possible Complications

  • Peptic ulcer
  • Perforation (tearing) of the intestine due to obstruction
  • Peritonitis
  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
  • Obstructive jaundice

When to Contact a Medical Professional

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if you or your child develop any symptoms of annular pancreas.

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