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Choledochal Cyst

Choledochal cysts are congenital bile duct anomalies. These cystic dilatations of the biliary tree can involve the extrahepatic biliary radicles, the intrahepatic biliary radicles, or both. They may occur as a single cyst or in multiples within the biliary tree.

Symptoms and Complications

In infants, choledochal cysts usually lead to obstruction of the bile ducts and retention of bile. This leads to jaundice and an enlarged liver. If the obstruction is not relieved, permanent damage may occur to the liver - scarring and cirrhosis - with the signs of portal hypertension (obstruction to the flow of blood through the liver) and ascites (fluid accumulation in the abdomen). There is an increased risk of cancer in the wall of the cyst.

In older individuals, choledochal cysts are more likely to cause abdominal pain and intermittent episodes of jaundice and occasionally cholangitis (inflammation within the bile ducts caused by the spread of bacteria from the intestine into the bile ducts). Pancreatitis also may occur. The cause of these complications may be related to either an abnormal flow of bile within the ducts or the presence of gallstones.

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Causes

The bile duct transports bile from the liver, through the pancreas, to the first part of the small intestine (the duodenum). Researchers believe that choledochal cysts form when there is an abnormality at the intersection between the bile duct and pancreatic duct.

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About Anmol Ahuja

DNB (Gen Surgery), FNB (Minimal Invasive Surgery), FMAS, Fellowship in ColoRectal Surgery (Taiwan)

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