What is the Gallbladder and the Bile Duct
What is the Gallbladder?
The gallbladder is a pear-shaped structure that is found attached to the liver. The bile duct is a tube that transports bile from the liver to the small intestine. The gallbladder is attached to the bile duct by a small tube called the cystic duct. Bile is collected in the gallbladder between meals and empties into the bile duct through the cystic duct during a meal.
What is the bile duct?
The bile duct is long tube-like structure that connects the liver to the intestine. The liver makes bile that is required for the digestion of food. The bile from the liver is transported to the intestine by the bile duct.
The top half of the bile duct is associated with the liver while the bottom half of the bile duct is associated the pancreas through which it passes on its way to the intestine. It opens in the part of the intestine called the duodenum into a structure called the Ampulla.
Blockage of the bile duct by a cancer or scarring from injury prevents the bile from being transported to the intestine and the bile accumulates in the blood. This condition is called jaundice and the skin and eyes becomes yellow from the accumulated bile in the blood. This condition also causes severe itchiness.
Jaundice is commonly causes by conditions such as pancreatic cancer caused by blockage of the bile duct passing through the cancerous portion of the pancreas, bile duct cancer, blockage by a stone in patients with gallstones and from scarring after injury to the bile duct during gallbladder removal.