Pancreas Disease Diagnosis

Our experts have extensive experience in pancreas disease diagnostic methods and the use of leading edge technology. Your pancreas diagnostics may include:

CT scan – Computed tomography (CT or CAT scan) is a pancreatic disease diagnostic test that uses a combination of X-rays and computer technology to create cross-sectional images (often called slices), horizontally and vertically, of the body. A CT scan shows detailed images of the bones, muscles, fat, blood vessels and organs. As a result, CT scans are very detailed and help physicians diagnose many conditions that may not be as easily diagnosed with other imaging methods like X-ray or ultrasound.

MRI – Magnetic resonance imaging, or MRI, is a non-invasive pancreatic diagnostic test that uses a large magnet, pulses of radiofrequency waves, and a computer to create detailed images of organs and structures within your body. Physicians use MRI to diagnose conditions that may not be adequately assessed using other imaging methods such as X-ray, ultrasound or CT scan. To evaluate pancreatic disease, a specialized MRI scan called an MRCP may provide detailed information about the ducts in the pancreas and certain types of pancreatic cysts.

Endoscopic ultrasound – This pancreatic diagnostic test combines two forms of diagnostics, endoscopy and ultrasound. The physician inserts an endoscope, a thin, flexible tube on which a tiny digital camera chip is mounted, through the patient’s mouth, through the esophagus and into the stomach and intestines. The endoscopic ultrasound device also has a tiny transducer, a probe that emits and captures ultrasound waves. A computer receives the waves and creates images of the pancreas and other organs. Endocopic ultrasound is a highly valuable technique to biopsy tumors of the pancreas and sample fluid from cysts for study.

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, or ERCP – ERCP is a specialized endoscopic procedure performed at Beaumont to both evaluate and treat conditions involving the pancreas and bile duct. Using a flexible endoscopic tube, dye can be injected into the ducts to define areas of concern. In many cases, ERCP techniques are used to place tubes or stents across areas of blockage in the bile duct to relieve jaundice caused by tumors of the pancreas.

Other pancreatic disease diagnosis tests – Blood tests for pancreatic enzymes like amylase and lipase may be helpful in diagnosing inflammation of the pancreas or pancreatitis and hormone measurements in the blood are helpful in evaluating endocrine tumors. A tumor marker, known as Ca 19-9, may be helpful in monitoring the response to pancreatic cancer treatment for some patients. Presently, no blood test is known to be reliable to screen patients for pancreatic cancer.

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