Pancreas divisum

Pancreas divisum is a congenital defect in which parts of the pancreas to fail to fuse together.

Causes, incidence, and risk factors
In this condition, the ducts of the pancreas are affected. In many cases this defect goes undetected. The cause of the defect is unknown. However, if the pancreatic ducts become obstructed, symptoms similar to pancreatitis may develop. Pancreas divisum affects about 5% of the general population.


  • Abdominal pain  
  • nausea or Vomiting  
  • Abdominal distention

Note: There may be no symptoms.

Signs and tests

  • An ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography)  
  • Elevated blood amylase and lipase  
  • Abdominal CT scan

If a person has symptoms of this condition or has had recurrent pancreatitis, surgical bypass or reconstruction of the malformed pancreatic ducts may be indicated to relieve obstruction.

Expectations (prognosis)
The probable outcome is good with treatment.


The main complication of pancreas divisum is pancreatitis.

Calling your health care provider
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if symptoms of this disorder develop.

Because this is a congenital disorder (present at birth), there is no known prevention.

Johns Hopkins patient information

Last revised: December 6, 2012
by Simon D. Mitin, M.D.

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