What Is Annular Pancreas?
The pancreas is an organ in
the posterior (back) of your abdomen, just behind the stomach. A duct connects
the pancreas to a part of the small intestine called the duodenum. It is
responsible for excreting insulin into the bloodstream to transform glucose
into energy. It also secretes enzymes into the intestines to directly aid in
the digestion of food.
your pancreas sits next to your duodenum in your abdomen. In some people,
tissue from the pancreas may surround the duodenum. When this happens, your
duodenum can become restricted or blocked. This may impact your ability to
digest food. This condition is known as annular pancreas.
What Are the Causes of
pancreas is a congenital condition. This means that it’s typically present at
birth. Although doctors don’t know what causes the disorder, annular pancreas commonly
occurs with other congenital disorders, including:
fistula, an abnormal connection between the esophagus and the trachea
atresia, the failure of a portion of the intestinal tract to completely form
divisum, a birth defect in which ducts of the pancreas don’t join together
pancreas also occurs with polyhydramnios,
or excess amniotic fluid during pregnancy. Annular pancreas is a rare condition
that occurs in only 1 in every 20,000 newborns. It occurs more frequently in
males than females.
What Are the Symptoms of
annular pancreas develop when tissue from the pancreas squeezes the small
intestine. In some people, the tissue that surrounds the duodenum may be so
small that it doesn’t cause any symptoms. This happens in half of all patients
with this condition.
cases, the pancreatic tissue surrounding the small intestine causes a blockage
that can make it difficult for a person to eat. Infants with annular pancreas
may cry, spit up more than normal, and be unable to drink enough formula or
symptoms of annular pancreas don’t develop until adulthood. When symptoms
occur, they may include:
sensation after eating only a small amount
How Is Annular Pancreas
If you have
symptoms of this disorder, your doctor will ask you about your health history,
including underlying congenital problems that you have or had in the past. Your
doctor may need to order several tests to confirm your diagnosis. Tests used to
confirm a diagnosis of annular pancreas include:
of the abdomen
of the abdomen
study of the abdomen
gastrointestinal (GI) series
How Is Annular Pancreas
may recommend surgery to bypass the pancreatic tissue. The goal of treatment is
to remove the obstruction so that your small intestine can function normally.
Typically, you can’t remove pancreatic tissue from the duodenum. Destruction of
the pancreatic tissue can cause damage to the pancreas.
options for annular pancreas include gastrojejunostomy or duodenojejunostomy.
These procedures will require your doctor to cut the intestine at the site of
the blockage and reconnect the two parts of the intestine in an area below the
How Can I Prevent Annular
prevent annular pancreas. The condition occurs due to genetic changes during
fetal development. However, there are steps you can take to have a healthy
pregnancy and a healthy baby:
a healthy diet during pregnancy, including fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
your doctor regularly for prenatal checkups.
smoking or don’t start smoking.
consume drugs that aren’t prescribed by your doctor.
What Is the Long-Term
If you receive
a diagnosis of annular pancreas, you’ll need surgery to correct the problem.
Following surgery, your recovery and long-term outlook should be quite good. If
you have annular pancreas as an adult, you’re at higher risk for complications
from the disorder. Complications may include:
jaundice: obstruction in the flow of bile
inflammation of the pancreas
ulcer: a defect in the lining of the stomach or the first part of the intestine
(hole) in the intestine
inflammation of the tissue that lines the inner wall of the abdomen
adults who have annular pancreas have a higher risk for developing certain
types of cancer, including biliary tract and pancreatic cancer.