Detecting blunt pancreatic injuries

Robert L. Cirillo, Leonidas G. Koniaris

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

76 Scopus citations


Pancreatic injury after blunt abdominal trauma is exceedingly uncommon, occurring in less than 5% of major abdominal injuries. When blunt pancreatic injury does occur, however, it is notoriously difficult to identify. The use of serum amylase has been advocated in the diagnosis of such injury, yet it is neither sensitive nor specific. Computed tomography has become widely accepted in the evaluation of hemodynamically stable patients after blunt abdominal trauma, although it is clearly not a sensitive modality for the detection of pancreatic injury. In fact, numerous examples of normal CT scans with missed pancreatic injury have been documented. However, careful attention to CT technique and awareness of the CT manifestations of pancreatic injury may facilitate the diagnosis of pancreatic injury. Additionally, important information about the pancreatic duct can be obtained with the use of MRI-pancreatography or endoscopic retrograde pancreatography. Accurate, timely identification of major pancreatic ductal injury is imperative because delay in diagnosis and associated vascular injuries are largely responsible for the high morbidity and mortality associated with blunt pancreatic trauma. Blunt pancreatic trauma can be managed successfully by means of both operative and selective approaches.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)587-598
Number of pages12
JournalJournal of Gastrointestinal Surgery
Issue number4
StatePublished - Dec 1 2002
Externally publishedYes


  • Pancreas radiography
  • Pancreas surgery
  • Pancreatic trauma

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Gastroenterology

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