Pancreatitis means that the pancreas in inflamed and swollen. That can happen for many different reasons. Some people who drink a lot of alcohol injure their pancreas enough that it flares up into full-blown pancreatitis. Sometimes a problem develops in the pancreatic duct and/or common bile duct like stone formation that slows the flow of pancreatic enzymes. If those enzymes can't flow properly, the pancreas gets inflamed because it begins digesting itself with its own enzymes. Some people develop what is called a pseudo-cyst, which is a big pocket of infection - basically like a huge zit. It can be treated and drained with surgery after a course of heavy-duty antibiotics to shrink it as much as possible. However, after surgical drainage, it sometimes comes back. In some people with repeated acrute pancreatitis attacks, the affected portion of the pancreas is removed. That surgery is very serious has a whole host of problems to consider. It's certainly not as simple as removing a gallbladder or an appendix.
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