At the University of Chicago Medicine, our pancreatic disease care team comprises of physicians of several specialties, including gastroenterology, interventional endoscopy, surgery, oncology, radiology, pathology, pain management and genetics. These experts are recognized leaders in pancreatic disease care and can offer top of the line diagnostic and treatment options that are not widely available. 

Uzma D. Siddiqui, MD, Center for Endoscopic Research and Therapeutics (CERT)
Uzma D. Siddiqui, MD, Center for Endoscopic Research and Therapeutics (CERT)

What is Pancreatitis?

Pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas activated by its own digestive enzymes inside the organ. Treatments are geared toward helping the pancreas recover from inflammation, preventing problems with other organs such as the kidneys and lungs and reducing pain and other symptoms.

UChicago Medicine gastroenterologists and gastrointestinal surgeons are experienced in diagnosing and treating all forms of pancreatitis.

Types of Pancreatitis

Acute pancreatitis is inflammation of the pancreas that occurs suddenly and produces severe upper abdominal pain, nausea and vomiting. The pain lasts for less than a week in the majority of patients but can be severe and affect other organs.

Learn more about acute pancreatitis

Chronic pancreatitis is a progressive disease characterized by ongoing inflammation of the pancreas. Over time, irreversible damage to pancreatic tissue occurs. Symptoms and complications vary from person to person, but can include abdomen pain, diarrhea, nausea and vomiting.

Learn more about chronic pancreatitis

Hereditary pancreatitis is an inherited form of pancreatitis characterized by recurrent episodes of painful pancreatitis starting at an early age. In most patients, the recurrent attacks will eventually progress to chronic pancreatitis. Frequently, other family members have pancreatitis.

Learn more about hereditary pancreatitis

Diagnosis & Treatment

Our interventional endoscopy specialists can perform sophisticated, minimally invasive procedures to provide a more thorough diagnosis of chronic pancreatitis and other complex problems. We are one of a handful of hospitals in the country to offer total pancreatectomy with islet cell autotransplantation (autologous islet cell transplantation). Our surgical specialists offer treatment alternatives beyond traditional approaches, such as minimally invasive procedures and duodenum-sparing and spleen-sparing pancreatic resections.

Our pancreatic care team offers the full spectrum of diagnostic and treatment options for pancreatitis. In the few cases where surgical treatment of the pancreas is required, our specialists can perform a number of advanced procedures, including:

  • Autologous islet cell transplantation (islet cell autotransplantation) to prevent diabetes or limit diabetes after total pancreatectomy. This treatment is only available at select hospitals.
  • Duodenum-sparing pancreatic head resection, including the Beger procedure, the Frey procedure, and the Bern modification
  • Spleen-preserving pancreatic tail resection (distal pancreatectomy)
  • Minimally invasive (laparoscopic) pancreatic operations, such as pseudocyst drainage and distal pancreatectomy
  • Endoscopic (non-surgical) placement of pancreatic stents and drainage of pancreatic fluid collection