n South African Journal of Surgery - Primary hydatid cysts of the pancreas : general surgery

Volume 43, Issue 2
  • ISSN : 0038-2361
  • E-ISSN: 2078-5151



Pancreatic involvement by hydatid disease is uncommon. Establishing a precise diagnosis may be difficult because the presenting symptoms and findings of investigations may be similar to other more commonly encountered cystic lesions of the pancreas. We report 4 patients with primary hydatid cysts in the head of the pancreas. The records of all patients treated for hydatid disease from 1980 to 2000 were reviewed. During the study period a total of 280 patients were treated, 4 of whom had hydatid disease involving only the pancreas. The 4 patients (3 women, 1 man) ranged in age from 17 to 60 years. Three patients presented with jaundice, abdominal pain and weight loss, 2 with hepatomegaly and 1 with an epigastric mass. All 4 lesions involved the head of the pancreas and ranged in size from 3 to 10 cm in diameter. In 2 patients the investigations incorrectly suggested a cystic tumour and both underwent pancreaticoduodenectomy. In 2 patients the correct diagnosis allowed local excision to be performed. Hydatid cyst is a rare cause of a cystic mass in the head of the pancreas, but should be included in the differential diagnosis of cystic lesions of the pancreas, especially in endemic areas.

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