Solid pseudo-papillary tumors of the pancreas are rare and typically present in young female patients. They are slowly growing masses that may attain large size, and are of low malignant potential. Surgical resection is usually curative.
A 71-year-old woman presented to the emergency department with an episode of hematemesis but was otherwise hemodynamically stable. Emergency gastroscopy revealed a bleeding mass projecting to the duodenum. Fluid, blood and electrolyte resuscitation followed. Computed tomography revealed a small mass in the head of the pancreas. A Whipple operation was performed. Pathology revealed a solid pseudo-papillary tumor. The postoperative course of the patient was uneventful and no recurrence was present a year after the operation.
In our case, the most noteworthy observations concern the small size of the tumor, the age of the patient and the presenting symptom. However, pancreaticoduodenectomy in a 71-year-old woman is a major effort and should only be undertaken by centers and surgeons experienced in complex hepatobiliary surgery. Furthermore, the unique nature of this case reminds every clinician that each patient has to be considered separately and with extreme caution.