Pancreatic cysts may arise: 1, from the retention and accumulation of fluid in an occluded or obstructed pancreatic duct; 2, from the proliferation of pancreatic tissue, constituting cystadenomata; or, 3, as a result of traumatism or inflammatory processes leading to hemorrhage and dropsy of the lesser peritoneal cavity. The symptoms may be few or slight, or inconclusive. Among the most common are colicky pain, with nausea and vomiting, and the appearance of a tumor in the upper half of the abdomen.
The swelling is comparatively fixed and uninfluenced in position by respiration. Its contained fluid is of alkaline reaction, with a specific gravity of between 1010 and 1020, often of a reddish or brownish hue, and in it may be found red and colorless blood-cells or hemoglobin, granular detritus, fat globules and cholesterin. It may exhibit the fermentative activity of pancreatic juice. The bowels may be loose and the stools