Biliary and Pancreatic Duct Strictures

What are biliary and pancreatic duct strictures?

The bile ducts carry bile from the liver and gall bladder to the small intestine to help with digestion after a meal. The pancreatic ducts carry digestive enzymes and fluids from the pancreas to the small intestine. The biliary and pancreatic ducts usually join together just before emptying into the small intestine. Sometimes, as a result of other disease processes, damage to the biliary or pancreatic ducts may cause them to scar and narrow, called a stricture.

Symptoms of a stricture

They symptoms of a stricture depend on the location. When the stricture is in the bile duct, symptoms may include right-sided upper abdominal pain and jaundice. A stricture in the pancreas, depending on its location, may have pain and jaundice as well as loss of appetite and diarrhea.

Treatment for strictures

A stricture may be treated using a specialized endoscopy procedure called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). In this procedure, the endoscopist may place a stent to open up the strictured area. In extreme cases, some strictures may require surgery.