Ansa pancreatica

Case contributed by Dr Cara Odenthal

Presentation

Recurrent pancreatitis.

Patient Data

Age: 35 years
Gender: Male
MRI

The branch duct ('ansa pancreatica') arises from the main pancreatic duct, and loops inferiorly to before terminating in the minor papilla. In this case, the side branches of the duct are dilated adjacent to the minor papilla.

This patient also has congenital absence of the gallbladder (gallbladder agenesis).

Case Discussion

Ansa pancreatica is a rare anatomical variant of the accessory pancreatic duct. In this variant, the accessory pancreatic duct is replaced by a communicating duct, which arises from the ventral (main) duct, and demonstrates a curved 'S-shaped' course within the pancreatic head before terminating at the minor papilla.

The ansa pancreatica variant is hypothesized to be a predisposing factor for recurrent pancreatitis.

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