Ansa pancreatica. Review of the literature

Kympouris Sotirios, Filippou Dimitrios, Skandalakis Panagiotis


Ansa pancreatica is a reversed S-shaped pancreatic duct arising from the main pancreatic duct of Wirsung and ending at or near the minor duodenal papilla. Described for the first time in 1961, it is a rare anatomic variant of the pancreatic ducts system and is characterized by the absence of the accessory duct of Santorini. It probably serves as a counter measure after the accessory duct obliteration, in order to maintain sufficient pancreatic juice drainage. The literature concerning ansa pancreatica seems to be rather poor, compared to other anatomic variants and congenital anomalies of the pancreatic ducts. We tried to define the ansa pancreatica incidence among general population and highlight the possible differences between different populations, and to define its possible correlation with pancreatitis. The existing data correlate ansa pancreatica with recurrent acute pancreatitis and pancreatitis in alcoholics. Despite the lack of extended data, ansa pancreatica is a rare anatomic variant, proven to play an important role in certain clinical conditions.


ansa pancreatica; pancreatitis; pancreas; anatomy of pancreas; pancreatic ducts

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