Choledochal Cyst

  • Medical Author:
    Jay W. Marks, MD

    Jay W. Marks, MD, is a board-certified internist and gastroenterologist. He graduated from Yale University School of Medicine and trained in internal medicine and gastroenterology at UCLA/Cedars-Sinai Medical Center in Los Angeles.

  • Medical Editor: Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD
    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD

    Melissa Conrad Stöppler, MD, is a U.S. board-certified Anatomic Pathologist with subspecialty training in the fields of Experimental and Molecular Pathology. Dr. Stöppler's educational background includes a BA with Highest Distinction from the University of Virginia and an MD from the University of North Carolina. She completed residency training in Anatomic Pathology at Georgetown University followed by subspecialty fellowship training in molecular diagnostics and experimental pathology.

woman with abdominal pain

How are choledochal cysts diagnosed?

Choledochal cysts can be diagnosed in several ways. The most common is by ultrasonography.

The second most common way is by cholangiography, that is, the filling of the bile ducts with dye followed by x-ray imaging. The dye may be injected by a long needle directly into the bile ducts by advancing the needle through the skin and liver into the ducts or with an endoscopically-placed catheter from the duodenum through the Papilla of Vater (the point at which the bile duct enters the small intestine, also known as the Ampulla of Vater).

The most recent technique for identifying choledochal cysts is magnetic resonance imaging of the bile ducts, also known as MRCP. It offers the advantage of being non-invasive requiring neither an injection into the bile ducts or endoscopy.

How are choledochal cysts treated?

The best way of treating choledochal cysts is to surgically remove them and reconstruct the bile ducts that were affected. The cyst should be completely removed whenever possible. If the ducts cannot be reconstructed, they should be sewn to the intestine so that bile can drain freely out of the ducts.

Medically reviewed by John A. Daller, MD; American Board of Surgery

REFERENCE: MedscapeReference.com. Choledochal cysts.

Medically Reviewed by a Doctor on 3/8/2016

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