Pancreatic cysts are diagnosed with increasing frequency because of the widespread use of cross-sectional imaging. As an example, pancreatic cysts were detected in 1.2 percent of more than 24,000 patients who underwent abdominal imaging with computed tomography or magnetic resonance imaging at a major medical center .
Pancreatic cysts can either be neoplastic (eg, intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms) or non-neoplastic. Accurate cyst categorization is important, since non-neoplastic cysts require treatment only if symptomatic, whereas some of the pancreatic cystic neoplasms have significant malignant potential and should be resected.
This topic will review issues related to pancreatic cystic neoplasms, including serous cystic tumors, mucinous cystic neoplasms, intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms, and solid pseudopapillary neoplasms. The classification of pancreatic cysts, the diagnosis and management of pancreatic pseudocysts, and a detailed discussion of intraductal papillary mucinous neoplasms of the pancreas are discussed separately:
TYPES OF PANCREATIC CYSTIC NEOPLASMS
Most pancreatic cystic neoplasms (PCNs) are detected incidentally when abdominal imaging is performed for other indications . PCNs account for more than 50 percent of pancreatic cysts, even in patients with a history of pancreatitis [1,2]. (See "Classification of pancreatic cysts", section on 'Pancreatic cystic neoplasms'.)