Benign Conditions of the Gallbladder and Bile Duct | MedStar Health

The bile duct connects the liver to the intestine and the gallbladder serves as a storage receptacle for the bile produced in the liver. Many of the conditions that affect these organs can be cancerous, and even those that are not can require treatment. We work with other disciplines in the Pancreas and Liver Diseases Program to correctly identify conditions and find the right treatment for you. 

Learn more about some of the benign conditions we treat:

Choledochal Cyst 

A choledochal cyst is not a true cyst, but a widening of the main bile duct. It is often associated with an abnormality where the pancreas duct and the bile duct come together. Although not everyone experiences symptoms, you may experience chronic infection, pain, nausea, and indigestion. This chronic inflammation can lead to cancers of the bile duct.

Biliary Strictures 

A biliary stricture is a narrowing of the bile duct that can obstruct the flow of bile from the liver to the intestine. Many biliary strictures are cancerous, but even benign strictures must be treated by first draining the biliary system and then evaluating longer term treatment options. We use a combination of expertise from gastroenterology and interventional radiology, as well as body imaging, pathology, and surgery to determine the right strategy for treatment depending on the specific reasons for the narrowing.

Bile Duct Injury

Bile duct injuries can occur during difficult gallbladder operations that are complicated by some type of problem with the common bile duct. If this occurs, you’ll experience bile leakage, or jaundice, or some other problem after surgery that will need to be fixed with a second operation or an endoscopic procedure. 

Gallbladder Polyps 

Gallbladder polyps are growths within the gallbladder that are usually first noticed on an ultrasound done for another reason. When they are small, we may simply observe the polyps with a combination of imaging, clinical history, and lab tests. Surgery may be necessary to remove the gallbladder, as the polyps themselves cannot be biopsied and may be premalignant.