Biliary system

Biliary: Referring to any duct or organ in the biliary system; the bile ducts, liver and/or gallbladder.

Source: RDCRN (NCATS/NIH)1

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What is the biliary tract?

The biliary tract consists of the gallbladder and the bile ducts. The bile ducts carry bile and other digestive enzymes from the liver and pancreas to the duodenum—the first part of the small intestine.

The liver produces bile—a fluid that carries toxins and waste products out of the body and helps the body digest fats and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Bile mostly consists of cholesterol, bile salts, and bilirubin. Bilirubin, a reddish-yellow substance, forms when hemoglobin from red blood cells breaks down. Most bilirubin is excreted through bile.

Illustration of the biliary system, with the liver, gallbladder, duodenum, pancreatic duct, common bile duct, pancreas, cystic duct, and hepatic ducts labeled.

The biliary tract

The bile ducts of the biliary tract include the hepatic ducts, the common bile duct, the pancreatic duct, and the cystic duct. The gallbladder stores bile. Eating signals the gallbladder to contract and empty bile through the cystic duct and common bile duct into the duodenum to mix with food.

Source: NIDDK (NIH)2

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Biliary Tract: The Bile Ducts and the Gallbladder.3

Anatomical Information about Biliary system

What is the biliary tract?

The biliary tract consists of the gallbladder and the bile ducts. The bile ducts carry bile and other digestive enzymes from the liver and pancreas to the duodenum—the first part of the small intestine.

The liver produces bile—a fluid that carries toxins and waste products out of the body and helps the body digest fats and the fat-soluble vitamins A, D, E, and K. Bile mostly consists of cholesterol, bile salts, and bilirubin. Bilirubin, a reddish-yellow substance, forms when hemoglobin from red blood cells breaks down. Most bilirubin is excreted through bile.

The bile ducts of the biliary tract include the hepatic ducts, the common bile duct, the pancreatic duct, and the cystic duct. The gallbladder stores bile. Eating signals the gallbladder to contract and empty bile through the cystic duct and common bile duct into the duodenum to mix with food.

Source: NIDDK (NIH)4

Anatomy Articles

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References

  1. Source: RDCRN (NCATS/NIH): rarediseasesnetwork.org/ cms/ cegir/ Learn-More/ Glossary
  2. Source: NIDDK (NIH): niddk.nih.gov/ health-information/ health-topics/ digestive-diseases/ gallstones/ Pages/ facts.aspx
  3. Source: MeSH (U.S. National Library of Medicine)
  4. Source: NIDDK (NIH): niddk.nih.gov/ health-information/ digestive-diseases/ gallstones

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