Pancreatic disease in children
The Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc offer advanced endoscopy techniques for the treatment of pancreatic disease in children.
The pancreas is an organ of the digestive system. Among its different functions, it secretes substances that aid good food digestion. It is connected to the intestines by the pancreatic duct.
There are a number of pancreatic diseases that affect children: cysts, cancer, hereditary, autoimmune and traumatic pancreatitis (1), malformation of the pancreatic duct, etc. The Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc’s Rare Disease Institute treats these different conditions.
Most pancreatic diseases require the use of endoscopic techniques. Endoscopy is a medical examination in which a fine, flexible tube, its tip fitted with a mini-camera, is introduced into a body cavity. Where needed, the endoscope can also be fitted with small surgical instruments, enabling a cyst, for example, to be emptied during the procedure or a malformation of the pancreatic duct to be corrected.
Unique expertise in Belgium
“In Belgium, we are currently the only ones to offer multidisciplinary treatment for pancreatic conditions”, explains Professor Isabelle Scheers, head of the Paediatric Pancreatic Diseases Department at the Cliniques universitaires Saint-Luc. “‘Therapeutic’ endoscopy is a key element in this treatment. We have the appropriate equipment to carry out these endoscopies in children, sometimes even in babies. Professor Pierre Deprez, who carries out these delicate procedures, has trained at the world’s leading centres and his expertise is internationally recognised. In addition, each case is discussed at a multidisciplinary meeting of the Rare Disease Institute.”
Follow-up for patients from abroad
Professor Scheers, Professor Deprez and their teams treat around thirty new young patients affected by paediatric pancreatic disease each year, including patients from abroad. “Endoscopic techniques and surgery offer a number of advantages”, Professor Scheers continues. “Generally, one intervention is sufficient. As these procedures are not invasive, they only require a short period of hospitalisation. And follow-up can sometimes be done in the patient’s home country, although we prefer to see outpatients again 12 and 18 months after their surgery, to remove a stent (2) (if used) and to ensure that everything has returned to normal.”
(1) Pancreatitis is an inflammation of the pancreas.
(2) A stent is a small prosthesis that doctors place in a duct or a large blood vessel to hold it open.