Bile is greenish yellow sticky, thick fluid produced in the liver. Bile helps in digestion of fat and makes easy to absorb fat-soluble vitamins, cholesterol from the small intestine. It also assists to eliminate some waste product such as byproducts of drugs, bilirubin and excess cholesterol from the body.
Biliary ducts are series of tiny tubes that carry bile to the gallbladder from originating organ the liver and finally to the duodenum (small intestine). Bile is stored in a small pear-shaped sac called gallbladder located just under the liver and connected by the biliary duct. Bile is produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder between two meals and used when people take food. So, the bile ducts play a very important role in the transportation of bile from producing organ the liver to end-using organ the duodenum (small intestine).
What is bile duct?
Bile ducts are tiny tubes that carry bile from the liver to gallbladder and duodenum. Two main types bile duct are as under:
Intrahepatic ducts — these are series of small tubes within the liver that collects bile and transport it to the extrahepatic ducts.
Extrahepatic ducts — there are two extrahepatic ducts, one is from the right side of the liver and another is from the left side of the liver. Both descend from the liver and joined to form common hepatic duct directed towards small intestine.
Bile duct from gallbladder opens into the common hepatic duct. From this point onward the duct is called common bile duct or choledochus. Before meeting the duodenum, common bile duct crosses through the pancreas.
What is bile duct disorder?
If a movement of bile is obstructed by any means, results in a severe effect on the entire anatomy of the digestive system.Bile performs two major functions, firstly, it helps to digest and absorb fat in the duodenum and makes easy to absorb fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K secondly; it carries toxins and other waste products out of the body. So, any obstruction or leakage in the bile duct may affect the liver tissue and cause cirrhosis. As trapped bile cannot move, it makes difficult for the liver to remove toxins from the blood. As toxins grow up in the blood other organs start to malfunction. This situation demands immediate medical attention.
What are the causes of bile duct disorder?
Some common causes of bile duct disorder are as follows:
What are the symptoms of bile duct disorder?
Symptoms are varying on the cause of the disorder. Patients with bile duct disorder usually have:
What are the treatments for bile duct disorder?
Treatment is aimed to rectify the underlying causes. The primary objective of any medical or surgical support is to alleviate the cause of disease. Many disorders of the biliary system are treated medically.But certain problems like stones, choledochal cyst or tumors need surgery.Some of the common treatments modalities are:
Cholecystectomy — by this surgical procedure gallstones are removed along with the gallbladder
ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreatography) — this is helpful to remove small stones from the common bile duct. It also helps to place a stent inside the bile duct to restore bile flow.
Authored By Dr G Parthasarathy - Surgical Gastroenterologist, Hyderabad