Patient Education

Conditions We Treat

Problems with the Pancreas and Bile Ducts

The pancreatic and bile ducts are hollow tubes that allow important fluids to travel from the pancreas, liver, and gallbladder into the small intestine. Sometimes, ducts can narrow or become blocked. When this happens, these important fluids either get stuck in one of the ducts, or only a small amount goes through. The most common reason for blockage is gallstones; however, abnormal growths, previous surgeries, inflammation, or infection can also cause a narrowing or blockage.

Gallstones are small hard masses made of cholesterol and bile salts that form in the gallbladder or in the bile duct. It is uncertain why some people form gallstones and there is no known way to prevent them. If these stones block the bile duct, you will experience abdominal pain and jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin.

These examples represent some of the more common problems that can develop.