Back to article
Larger     Normal     Smaller    

Biliary stricture

Definition

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.

Alternative Names

Bile duct stricture

Causes, incidence, and risk factors

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

Signs and tests

The following tests can help diagnose this condition:

The following blood tests can help reveal a problem with the biliary system.

This condition may also alter the results of the following tests:

Treatment

The goal of treatment is to correct the narrowing so bile flow normally from the liver into the intestine.

This may involve:

  • Surgery
  • Endoscopic or percutaneous dilation

If surgery is done, the stricture may be removed and the common bile duct rejoined with the small intestine.

In some cases, a stent (a tiny metal or plastic mesh tube) is placed across the bile duct stricture to keep it open. See: Stent

Expectations (prognosis)

Treatment is usually successful.

Complications

Inflammation and narrowing of the biliary duct may return in some people. There is a risk for infection above the narrowed area. Long-standing strictures can lead to cirrhosis.

Calling your health care provider

Call for an appointment with your health care provider if symptoms recur after pancreatitis, cholecystectomy, or other biliary surgery.

References

Afdhal NH. Diseases of the gallbladder and bile ducts. In:Goldman L, Schafer AI, eds. Cecil Medicine. 24th ed. Philadelphia, PA: SaundersElsevier; 2011:chap 158.

Review Date:5/1/2012

Reviewed by:David C. Dugdale, III, MD, Professor of Medicine, Division of General Medicine, Department of Medicine, University of Washington School of Medicine. George F. Longstreth, MD, Department of Gastroenterology, Kaiser Permanente Medical Care Program, San Diego, California. Also reviewed by David Zieve, MD, MHA, Medical Director, A.D.A.M. Health Solutions, Ebix, Inc.

A.D.A.M. qualityA.D.A.M., Inc. is accredited by URAC, also known as the American Accreditation HealthCare Commission (www.urac.org). URAC's accreditation program is an independent audit to verify that A.D.A.M. follows rigorousstandards of quality and accountability. A.D.A.M. is among the first to achieve this important distinction for online health information andservices. Learn more about A.D.A.M.'s editorialpolicy, editorialprocess, and privacypolicy. A.D.A.M. is also a founding member of Hi-Ethics and subscribes to the principles of the Health on the Net Foundation (www.hon.ch.)

The information provided herein should not be used during any medical emergency or for the diagnosis or treatmentof any medical condition. A licensed medical professional should be consulted for diagnosis and treatment of any and all medical conditions.Call 911 for all medical emergencies. Links to other sites are provided for information only -- they do not constitute endorsements of those other sites. © 2014 A.D.A.M., Inc. Any duplication ordistribution of the information contained herein is strictly prohibited.

A.D.A.M.

(C) Copyright 2014 Walgreen Co. All Rights Reserved.