Choledochal Cysts

Also known as: CC, cysts of the bile ducts.

What are choledochal cysts?

If a duct draining bile from the liver is dilated or shows an out-pouching in a particular segment, this is called a choledochal cyst. The cysts can occur in the part of the bile duct located either inside or outside the liver.

What causes choledochal cysts?

The exact cause of choledochal cysts isn’t clear. One theory is that a problem with the connection between the ducts of the liver and pancreas cause pancreatic juice to back up and lead to the development of the cysts. Another theory is that the cysts develop secondary to an abnormality in how bile duct cells and liver cells signal one another while a fetus is developing.

What are the symptoms of choledochal cysts?

Symptoms of choledochal cysts include abdominal pain, nausea, fever and jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes).

What are choledochal cyst care options?

In many cases, choledochal cysts can be removed surgically. If multiple cysts are present, however, a surgical cure may not be possible; in those instances, use of medications to promote bile flow can be helpful, and periodic follow up with lab tests and imaging of the bile ducts is necessary to monitor for complications.

Reviewed by: John M. Peters, DO

This page was last updated on: 2/5/2018 4:03:30 PM

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