Ansa pancreatica

Last revised by Rohit Sharma on 20 Aug 2023

Ansa pancreatica is a rare type of anatomical variation of the pancreatic duct. It is a communication between the main pancreatic duct (of Wirsung) and the accessory pancreatic duct (of Santorini). Ansa pancreatica has been considered as a predisposing factor in patients with idiopathic acute pancreatitis 3.

The ansa pancreatica arises as a branch duct from the main pancreatic duct. It descends down initially, then ascends upward forming a loop finally terminating at the minor papilla.

This type of pancreatic ductal variation can be identified on ERCP or MRCP studies.

History and etymology

It is derived from the Latin "ansa", which means "handle" as its configuration resembles a handle.

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