Clinical analysis of inflammatory masses of the pancreatic head region

Chi Hsiao Yeh, Han Ming Chen*, Yi Yin Jan, Tsann Long Hwang, Long Bin Jeng, Miin Fu Chen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalJournal Article peer-review

6 Scopus citations


BACKGROUND/AIMS: Inflammatory masses of the pancreatic head are a dilemma for surgeons, especially when the differences between these lesions and pancreatic head carcinoma are not so clear. The surgical management of these inflammatory benign lesions is also a topic with conflicting opinions. A clinical analysis was performed in an attempt to differentiate between these lesions and malignancy. The results of our observatory strategy of these lesions are also presented. METHODOLOGY: From 1992 to 1994, 73 patients with ultrasonographically (US) or computed tomographically (CT) heterogenous pancreatic head lesions were diagnosed at the Department of Surgery, Chang Gung Memorial Hospital, Taipei, Taiwan. Forty-nine of these lesions were neoplastic (Group I), but the remaining 24 patients had inflammatory non-neoplastic lesions (pancreatic inflammatory masses, IPM, Group II), which were diagnosed during laparotomy by core needle biopsy. Surgery and outcome were reviewed. Ten of the 24 patients in group II received biopsy only, and the remaining 14 patients received bypass procedures. At follow-up of at least 16 months of the surviving patients (n = 21), only 9.5% were with residual lesions. All cases in group II revealed shrinkage of masses. We focused on the clinical features, hematology, biochemistry, image study, serum CEA and CA 19-9, and compared these variances between the 2 groups. RESULTS: Three clinical features were statistically different between groups I and II: mean age at presentation of disease (group I vs II = 53.3 vs 65.1), the tendency of a past history of alcoholism (Group II), and presence of abdominal pain (Group II). Group II also showed a higher level of serum alkaline phosphatase and a lower level of total bilirubin as well as a lower level of CA19-9. These inflammatory masses could not be distinguished from the true neoplasms pre-operatively on endoscopic appearance, US, or CT. CONCLUSIONS: Pre-operative differentiation between these pancreatic lesions may be difficult but laparotomy and core needle biopsy remain safe and reliable procedures. Our short-term follow-up justified the bypass surgery and that observatory strategy is enough for those patients with pancreatic head inflammatory masses.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)2392-2398
Number of pages7
Issue number24
StatePublished - 1998
Externally publishedYes


  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pancreatic inflammatory mass


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