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Ectopic pancreatic tissue

Ectopic pancreatic tissue (or heterotopic pancreatic tissue) refers to the situation where rests of pancreatic tissue lie outside and separate to the pancreatic gland. It is reportedly relatively common, affecting ~5% (range 1-10%) 1 of people. Most are completely asymptomatic.

Recognised locations for ectopic pancreatic tissue include : 

If the ectopic pancreatic tissue is functional, it is subject to the same variation of pathology that effects the normal gland, including, but not limited to pancreatitis and pancreatic tumours.

Radiographic features

On upper gastrointestinal examination, an ectopic pancreas appears as an extramucosal, smooth, broad-based lesion either along the greater curvature of the gastric antrum or in the proximal duodenum.

In 45% of the cases of ectopic pancreas discovered on upper gastrointestinal examination, the ectopic pancreatic tissue contains a central small collection of barium, which is indicative of a central niche or umbilication. It is this finding that is diagnostic of ectopic pancreatic tissue.


Laparoscopic wedge resection is usually successful in removing the ectopic tissue, although its success is dependent on the location.

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