Pancreas Divisum

Pancreas Divisum

This is a common congenital defect of pancreatic duct. Pancreatic duct is a connection between pancreas and duodenum [part of intestine]. This duct drains pancreatic juices to the duodenum. Most of affected people can live a normal life. Some patients can suffer from recurrent pancreatitis and pancreatic duct obstruction.

Causes and risk factors

In 90% of embryonic life, pancreas is in two parts, dorsal and ventral ducts, and they will fuse to form pancreatic duct, which drains to the duodenum through the major papilla, but in 10% these two ducts fail to fuse and the ventral ducts form into the major papilla and dorsal ducts into the separate minor papilla. This congenital defect is the cause of pancreas divisum.

Clinical presentation

Most of the people affected with this disease can live a normal life. The condition can be asymptomatic. Patient may come up with abdominal pain. There may be nausea and vomiting. Some people can suffer from recurrent pancreatitis and pancreatic obstruction.


Medical history by the patient and clinical examination by the doctor helps in diagnosis. Imaging studies such as Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography [ERCP], Ultrasound, magnetic resonance imaging [MRI] may be useful for further evaluation.


No treatment is required for asymptomatic patients. In some cases, a surgery known as sphincterotomy, [i.e., cutting of minor papilla during ERCP to enlarge its opening] is performed to treat pancreas divisum. In case of signs and symptoms of pancreatitis, appropriate treatment is given.


Most common complication is pancreatic duct obstruction and pancreatitis.

When to Contact a Doctor

One must consult a doctor if one feels abdominal pain, otherwise this disease doesn’t need any kind of medical attention.

Systems involved

Digestive system

Organs involved

Pancreas, intestine

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