Read about accessory pancreas medical facts: what is the definition of accessory pancreas, prevalence, testing, characteristics and features, and related accessory pancreas diseases.

Definition: What is "Accessory pancreas"?


Accessory pancreas is a medical condition that is rare & in which there are little clusters of pancreatic cells that are distinct from the pancreas. This condition could occur in the mesentery of small intestines, duodenal walls, the upper portion of the jejunum or, in its rarest form-in the stomach walls, spleen, ileum or gallbladder. Accessory pancreas was first observed & described in 1859 by Klob.


It is listed as a rare disorder by the National Institutes of Health's Office of Rare Diseases. This classification means that accessory pancreas or even its subtype is affecting less than 200,000 only of the total American population.


Laboratory procedures that can be done to analyze the presence of accessory pancreas are blood, stool, urine & pancreatic fluid imaging studies. The blood examination could go as far as measuring the serum amylase, glucose, lipase, triglyceride & calcium levels. The physician could also order for a renal amylase or urine amylase clearance tests. The stool is the best specimen to study for fat contents. To measure the bicarbonate concentration of the fluids of the pancreas, it is necessary for the patient to undergo a secretin stimulation test. This can be introduced intravenously to stimulate the pancreatic fluid production. Surgery could also be an option while some doctors order prophylactic antibiotics.

Characteristics & Features

This condition is often accompanied by fatigue or weakness. Looking at the medical history of the patient would indicate a possible previous illness of the duodenum or the biliary tract. The patient could also have undergone surgery, some trauma of the abdomen or metabolic disorder such as diabetes mellitus. Looking at the patient's family & medication history is also helpful. Medications that should catch attention are thiazides, estrogens, furosemide, sulfonamides, corticosteroids & opiates. The symptoms that could be linked to disorders of the pancreas are pruritus, abdominal pains, nausea, dyspnea & vomiting. The patient should also be able to control his dietary habits & alcohol consumption. It is possible for this condition to exist without symptoms. But the absence of symptoms does not mean not being sick. A patient could appear healthy & well but there could be underlying conditions that need to be treated. Since the symptoms of accessory pancreas can be very vague, it is important to be wary of the seemingly ordinary signs such as 'mere fatigue'. There are conditions that do not have symptoms; while some develop the signs only after being exposed for quite some time.

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