Gallstone Pancreatitis

Patients who have small gallstones may pass them out of the gallbladder into the main bile duct. When these stones go downstream in the main bile duct, they can block off the pancreatic duct and bile can back up into the pancreas. This causes a severe form of pancreatitis that can make patients very sick requiring emergency hospital treatment of acute pancreatitis.

After the acute pancreatitis gets better, patients may have a damaged pancreas with a blockage in the main pancreatic duct that continues to cause problems with recurrent pancreatitis, pseudocysts, or pain. These problems can be fixed by draining the blocked-off part of the pancreatic duct into the small intestine with a distal lateral pancreaticojejunostomy, a form of the Puestow procedure. It can also be treated with removal of the damaged and non-drained portion of the pancreas (a distal pancreatectomy).

MUSC is a recognized National Pancreas Foundation (NPF) center.

What is pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is a disease in which the pancreas becomes swollen and inflamed causing it to not work properly. The enzymes which the pancreas normally produces to help digestion in the small intestine can attack the pancreas itself. The two most common types of pancreatitis are acute and chronic.