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Non-penetrating Injuries To The Pancreas


  • Non-penetrating injuries are also called blunt injuries. Blunt injuries are those that result from a direct blow to the abdomen (stomach) without an open wound. Blunt injuries to the pancreas may include a tear, cut, or bruise to the organ. These injuries may lead to internal bleeding due to the organ rupturing (bursting) or blood vessel problems. The pancreas is an organ behind the stomach that makes enzymes that help you digest food. Injuries to the pancreas often occur along with injuries to other organs in the abdomen.

  • Signs and symptoms may include abdominal pain, and your abdomen may be hard and tender. There may be bruising, swelling, or scratches over the injured area. A complete check-up of your body, including your skin, chest, back, and abdomen, may help diagnose blunt injuries. Imaging tests that take pictures of your abdomen, such as x-rays, ultrasound, and computerized tomography (CT) scan, may be done. Treatment will depend on your symptoms, condition, and how severe your injuries are. Sometimes, watchful waiting may be all that is needed for mild injuries. You may have surgery or other procedures to treat bleeding or more severe organ injuries. With care and treatment, your pancreas may heal over time, and serious problems may be prevented.


You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.


  • Serious injuries increase your risk of getting blood clots in your leg or arm. This can cause pain and swelling, and it can stop blood from flowing where it needs to go in your body. The blood clot can break loose and travel to your lungs. A blood clot in your lungs can cause chest pain and trouble breathing. This problem can be life-threatening. Surgery may cause you to bleed too much or other abdominal parts may be damaged. You may get an infection. Dye used for some tests may cause an allergic reaction or irritation of other organs.
  • If the injury is left untreated, medical problems could develop or worsen. Blunt injuries may cause internal bleeding or leakage of pancreatic fluid, and can be life-threatening. An abscess (pus) or fistula (abnormal connection from the pancreas to another body part) may form. Ask your caregiver if you are worried or have questions about your condition, care, or treatment.


Informed consent

is a legal document that explains the tests, treatments, or procedures that you may need. Informed consent means you understand what will be done and can make decisions about what you want. You give your permission when you sign the consent form. You can have someone sign this form for you if you are not able to sign it. You have the right to understand your medical care in words you know. Before you sign the consent form, understand the risks and benefits of what will be done. Make sure all your questions are answered.

Central line:

This is a special IV catheter or tube. It is put into a large vein (blood vessel) near your collarbone, in your neck, or in your groin. The groin is the area where your abdomen meets your upper leg. Other central lines, such as a PICC, may be put into your arm. You may need a central line to receive medicines or IV fluids that need to be given through a big vein. You may need a central line if it is hard for caregivers to insert a regular IV. Also, a central line may stay in longer than a regular IV can. Some central lines may also be used to take blood samples.


These are thin rubber tubes put into your skin to drain fluid from around your incision. The drains are taken out when the incision stops draining.

A Foley catheter

is a tube put into your bladder to drain urine into a bag. Keep the bag below your waist. This will prevent urine from flowing back into your bladder and causing an infection or other problems. Also, keep the tube free of kinks so the urine will drain properly. Do not pull on the catheter. This can cause pain and bleeding, and may cause the catheter to come out. Caregivers will remove the catheter as soon as possible to help prevent infection.


is a small tube placed in your vein that is used to give you medicine or liquids.

Jejunostomy tube (J-Tube):

A jejunostomy tube is a small, flexible tube that is put into a small cut in your abdomen. The end of the tube goes into your small intestine (bowel). The tube is used to give you liquids, food, and medicine. You may have a J-tube for a short time, or long-term. If you need it long-term, your tube may need to be replaced with a new one at certain times.


You may be given the following medicines:

  • Antibiotics: This medicine is given to help treat or prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • Pain medicine: Caregivers may give you medicine to take away or decrease your pain.
    • Do not wait until the pain is severe to ask for your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease. The medicine may not work as well at controlling your pain if you wait too long to take it.
    • Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling a caregiver when you want to get out of bed or if you need help.

Nasogastric (NG) tube:

An NG tube is put into your nose, and passes down your throat until it reaches your stomach. Food and medicine may be given through an NG tube if you cannot take anything by mouth. The tube may instead be attached to suction if caregivers need to keep your stomach empty.


Certain tests use a special dye to help organs and structures show up better. Tell caregivers if you are allergic to shellfish (lobster, crab, or shrimp), as you may also be allergic to this dye. One or more of the following tests may be done:

  • Blood tests: You may need blood taken to give caregivers information about how your body is working. The blood may be taken from your hand, arm, or IV.
  • Computerized tomography scan: This is also called CT scan. A special X-ray machine uses a computer to take pictures of different areas of your abdomen. It may be used to look at your pancreas, other organs, and blood vessels. Before taking the pictures, you may be given dye through an IV in your vein.
  • Endoscopic retrograde pancreatography: This is also called ERP. This test is done during an endoscopy to find injuries or problems of the pancreas. Dye is put into the endoscopy tube.
  • Magnetic resonance imaging scan: This test is also called an MRI. An MRI uses magnetic waves to take pictures of your abdomen. During an MRI, pictures are taken of your bones, abdominal organs, or blood vessels. You will need to lie still during an MRI. Never enter the MRI room with an oxygen tank, watch, or any other metal objects. This may cause serious injury.
  • Abdominal ultrasound: This test is done so caregivers can see the tissues and organs of your abdomen. Gel will be put on your abdomen and a small sensor will be moved across your abdomen. The sensor uses sound waves to send pictures of your abdomen to a TV-like screen.
  • X-rays: X-rays of your abdomen may be taken. These may help caregivers look for broken bones or other injuries inside your body.

Treatment options:

  • Blood transfusion: You will get whole or parts of blood through an IV during a transfusion. Blood is tested for diseases, such as hepatitis and HIV, to be sure it is safe.
  • Drainage: Draining will clean out any old blood or fluid from the pancreas in your abdomen. This may be done by putting thin rubber tubes into your abdomen. The tube may be attached to a suction device.
  • Laparoscopic surgical repair: Caregivers may use sutures (threads) to close a cut or repair an injured organ. Sometimes, a stent (tube) may be placed to treat a damaged duct (tunnel).
  • Open surgery: Caregivers may do surgery to take out part of the pancreas if it is badly injured. The remaining portion of the pancreas may then be connected and sutured (sewn) to other organs. Bleeding from blood vessels may be stopped by applying heat or closing them with sutures.
  • Watchful waiting: If your condition is stable and your injury is mild, watchful waiting may be all that is needed. Your caregiver will watch you closely for a period of time until your pancreas heals on its own. You may need to rest in bed and limit your activity.

Vital signs:

Caregivers will check your blood pressure, heart rate, breathing rate, and temperature. They will also ask about your pain. These vital signs give caregivers information about your current health.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.

Learn more about Non-penetrating Injuries To The Pancreas (Inpatient Care)

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