Evaluation of the contour of the pancreas: types and frequencies
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Purpose: Pancreas contour variations can sometimes be misdiagnosed as mass lesions. This study aimed to evaluate normal pancreatic contour morphology, variations, frequency and the development of the uncinate process. Methods: Out of 1183 consecutive computed tomography images taken in our hospital for various reasons (e.g. malignity, donor), 899 suitable images were included in the study. The following variations were identified: globular, elongated or globular–elongated contours of the pancreas head, protrusions of the body–tail surfaces and globular, lobular, globular–lobular, tapered and bifid contours of the tail. Hypoplasia and aplasia of the uncinate process were identified. All images were evaluated retrospectively by two radiologists. Results: Of the 899 patients, 504 (56.1%) were males. The mean age of the patients was 53.9 ± 14.7 (range 18–89). Hypoplasia of the uncinate process was found in 72 (8%) patients; aplasia was seen in 11 (1.2%) patients. Thirty-one (3.5%) of the pancreatic head variations were globular, 49 (5.4%) elongated and three (0.3%) elongated–globular. In patients with pancreatic uncinate process developmental anomaly, contour variations were also detected in the head of the pancreas. The pancreatic body–tail showed protrusions anteriorly in 76 (8%) patients and posteriorly in 11 (1.2%) patients. Seventy-two (8%) of the pancreatic tail variations were globular, 39 (4.4%) were globular–lobular, 18 (2%) were tapered and 17 (1.8%) were bifid. Conclusion: Patients with pancreatic uncinate process developmental anomaly also have contour variations in the head of the pancreas. Pancreatic uncinate process developmental anomaly was seen in 9.2%. Pancreatic tail contour variation was 16.2%. The pancreatic body–tail showed protrusion in 9.2% of patients.
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