Table of Contents
Diagnostic and Therapeutic Endoscopy
Volume 1, Issue 3, Pages 131-139

Endoscopic Stenting and Sphincterotomy of the Minor Papilla in Symptomatic Pancreas Divisum: Results and Complications

1Section of Endoscopy, Beth Israel Medical Center, North Division, New York, New York, USA
260 East End Avenue, New York, NY 10028, USA

Received 27 January 1994; Accepted 4 April 1994

Copyright © 1995 Hindawi Publishing Corporation. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


Pancreas divisum has been postulated as a cause of acute pancreatitis and a chronic pain syndrome in a small subgroup of patients and can be treated with endoscopic dorsal pancreatic duct stent placement and minor papilla sphincterotomy. Twenty patients (9 with at least one attack of idiopathic pancreatitis, and 11 with severe pancreatic-type pain) were treated endoscopically. Dorsal duct stents were placed in 19 patients with subsequent needle knife sphincterotomy of the minor papilla over the stent. Clinical response was judged by comparison of symptoms (using a 0-to-l0 scale and the patient's overall assessment). The symptom score improved from 9.3 to 5.1 in the pancreatitis group and from 9.3 to 5.7 in the pain group. A good clinical response was observed in 3 of 7 patients in the pancreatitis group and in 6 of 11 in the pain group at a mean follow-up of 22 months. Complications of sphincterotomy were limited to pancreatitis in 6 patients (29%), 5 mild and 1 moderate according to published criteria. No patient required more than 4 days hospitalization. Two of 39 stents migrated into the pancreas, and another stent fractured and remained lodged in the pancreas. Eight of 9 patients evaluated demonstrated new morphologic duct changes on follow-up pancreatograms. Endoscopic stenting and sphincterotomy of the minor papilla are feasible and may be effective in some patients with pancreas divisum but carries a significant complication rate. The subjective improvement in patients with chronic pain warrants further controlled study.