Management of Blunt Pancreatic Trauma in Children: A Persistent Controversy—Case Report and Comprehensive Literature Review

Igor Sukhotnik*, Neta Cohen

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review


Blunt pancreatic injury (BPI) is relatively uncommon in children, and is associated with relatively high morbidity and mortality, especially if diagnosis is delayed. The aim of this report is to review the literature regarding controversial questions in the early diagnosis and management of pediatric BPI. A representative case of blunt pancreatic trauma in a six-year-old girl with delayed diagnosis and intraoperative and postoperative complications was described. A systematic search of databases and the grey literature in Scopus and Web of Science using relevant keywords was conducted. A total of 26 relevant articles published in last 5 years were found in PubMed. Although early CT performance is considered part of initial pancreatic trauma workup, the sensitivity of CT for detecting main pancreatic duct injuries in children is relatively low. MRCP and ERCP (if available) are useful for assessing ductal injury and should be performed when the status of the pancreatic duct is unclear on the CT. Most patients with low-grade pancreatic damage may be treated conservatively. Although surgery involving distal pancreatectomy remains the preferred approach for most children with high-grade pancreatic injury, there is growing evidence to suggest that non-operative management (NOM) is safe and effective. Most pancreatic pseudo cysts following NOM had relatively mild complications, and most resolved spontaneously. For those children who do require surgery, a conservative operative approach with the least risk is advocated. In conclusion, the optimal management for pediatric pancreatic trauma is controversial. Further clinical trials are required to generate clinical practice guidelines on pancreatic trauma in a child population.

Original languageEnglish
Article number135
Issue number1
StatePublished - Jan 2024


  • children
  • diagnosis
  • main duct injury
  • non-operative management
  • pancreatectomy
  • pancreatic trauma
  • pseudocyst


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