From 1968 to 1978, 37 men and 14 women, with a median age of 43 years, were operated on for a pancreatic pseudocyst. Alcohol abuse was the dominating cause in 65% of the patients. Internal drainage (medium risk patients) was carried out in 76%, external drainage (high risk patients) in 12%, and pancreatic resection (low risk patients) in 12% of the patients. The hospital mortality rate was 14%. The patients who died were significantly older than those discharged from the hospital alive. At the time of follow-up (1--11 years, median: 4 years) after operation, a further 13% had died. Thirty per cent of the alcoholic and none of the nonalcoholic patients had severe pain at follow-up examination. Evaluated by their ability to work and pain, the late results were poorer for the alcoholics who continued drinking, better for alcoholics who had stopped drinking and best for nonalcoholics.