Pancreatic fluid collections (PFCs) are a frequent complication of acute pancreatitis. PFCs have been categorized according to their content and duration after an episode of pancreatitis. Acute collections (<4 week) and asymptomatic late collections (>4 weeks) can be usually managed conservatively. Late collections including walled off necrosis (WON) and pancreatic pseudocysts (PP) have a well-defined wall. Consequently, it is easier and safer to drain these collections when required. The most common indication to drain PFCs is infection and the available means of drainage include surgical, endoscopic, and percutaneous. Open surgical interventions carry a high risk of morbidity and mortality. Therefore, in the current era, a step up approach is preferred to minimize morbidity over the more aggressive surgical treatments. Endoscopic step-up approach is effective and favored over minimally invasive surgical or percutaneous drainage due to reduced risk of organ failure and external pancreatic fistula. However, the approach to PFCs should be individualized for optimal outcomes. A small subgroup of patients does not respond to endotherapy or percutaneous interventions and requires open surgical debridement. Similarly, not all PFCs are amenable to endoscopic drainage and demand alternative modalities like percutaneous or minimally invasive surgical drainage.
Part of the book: Pancreatitis