- Bile duct
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Caption = Digestive system diagram showing the bile duct
Caption2 = An intraoperative cholangiogram, which is an X-Ray of the bile ducts during a laprascopic cholecystectomy
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A bile duct is any of a number of long tube-like structures that carry
Bile, required for the
digestionof food, is excreted by the liverinto passages that carry bile toward the hepatic duct, which joins with the cystic duct(carrying bile to and from the gallbladder) to form the common bile duct, which opens into the intestine.
The biliary tree (see below) is the whole network of various sized ducts branching through the liver.
The path is as follows:
Bile canaliculi→ Canals of Hering→ interlobular bile ducts→ intrahepatic bile ducts→ left and right hepatic ducts"merge to form" → common hepatic duct"exits liver and joins" → cystic duct(from gall bladder) "forming" → common bile duct→ "joins with" pancreatic duct→ "forming" ampulla of Vater→ "enters" duodenum
Common bile duct
The top half of the common bile duct is associated with the liver, while the bottom half of the common bile duct is associated with the
pancreas, through which it passes on its way to the intestine. It opens in the part of the intestine called the duodenuminto a structure called the ampulla of Vater.
Blockage of the bile duct by a
cancer, gallstones, or scarring from injury prevents the bile from being transported to the intestine and the active ingredient in the bile ( bilirubin) instead accumulates in the blood. This condition is called jaundiceand the skinand eyesbecome yellow from the bilirubin in the blood. This condition also causes severe itchiness from the bilirubin deposited in the tissues. In certain types of jaundice, the urine will be noticeably darker, and the stools will be much paler than usual. This is caused by the bilirubin all going to the bloodstream and being filtered into the urine by the kidneys, instead of some being lost in the stools through the ampulla of Vater. Jaundiceis commonly caused by conditions such as pancreatic cancer, which causes blockage of the bile duct passing through the cancerous portion of the pancreas; cholangiocarcinoma, cancer of the bile ducts; blockage by a stone in patients with gallstones; and from scarring after injury to the bile duct during gallbladder removal.
* [http://cholangiocarcinoma.org/ The Cholangiocarcinoma Foundation]
* [http://pathology2.jhu.edu/gbbd/ The Johns Hopkins Gall Bladder & Bile Duct Cancer Web page]
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