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Alternative Names Return to topBile duct stricture
Definition Return to top
A biliary stricture is an abnormal narrowing of the common bile duct, the tube that moves bile (a substance that helps with digestion) from the liver to the small intestine.
Causes Return to top
A biliary stricture is often caused by surgical injury to the bile ducts. For example, it may occur after surgery to remove the gallbladder.
Other causes of this condition include:
Risk factors include previous biliary surgery, pancreatitis, gallstones, or injury to the intestine.
Symptoms Return to top
Exams and Tests Return to top
The following tests can help diagnose this condition:
The following blood tests can help reveal abnormal function of biliary system.
This condition may also alter the results of the following tests:
Treatment Return to top
The goal of treatment is to correct the narrowing and help bile flow normally from the liver into the intestine. This may involve surgery or less invasive procedures (endoscopic or percutaneous dilation). Depending on the location, if surgery is done, the stricture may be removed and the common bile duct rejoined with the small intestine.
In some cases, a stent is placed across the bile duct stricture to keep it open.
Outlook (Prognosis) Return to top
Treatment is usually successful.
Possible Complications Return to top
Recurrent inflammation of the biliary duct and stricture can occur in some patients. Patients are at risk for infection developing above the stricture. Long-standing strictures can lead to cirrhosis.
When to Contact a Medical Professional Return to top
Call for an appointment with your health care provider if symptoms recur after pancreatitis, cholecystectomy, or other biliary surgery.
References Return to top
Ostroff JW, LaBerge JM. Endoscopic and radiologic treatment of biliary disease. In: Feldman M, Friedman LS, Sleisenger MH, eds. Sleisenger & Fordtran’s Gastrointestinal and Liver Disease. 8th ed. Philadelphia, Pa: Saunders Elsevier; 2006:chap 67.Update Date: 9/20/2008 Updated by: David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M., Inc.