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Extrahepatic bile ducts

Normal anatomy

Reviewer: Hanni Gulwani, M.D. (see Reviewers page)
Revised: 12 February 2013, last major update September 2012
Copyright: (c) 2003-2013, PathologyOutlines.com, Inc.


Right and left hepatic ducts:
● 3-4 mm in diameter, within hepatoduodenal ligament, join to form common hepatic duct in porta hepatis (hilum of liver) within 1 cm of their exit from liver
● 10-30% have variation of 2 right sided ducts that join separately with left hepatic duct, common hepatic duct or cystic duct

Common hepatic duct:
● 2-8 mm, 1-5 cm long, joins cystic duct (1-3 cm long) to form common bile duct

Common bile duct:
● 2-9 cm long, passes posterior to first portion of duodenum, traverses the head of pancreas, enters the second part of duodenum through the ampulla of Vater and discharges gallbladder contents into duodenal lumen
● 60% have common channel for pancreatic duct and common bile duct
● Remainder have 2 ducts in parallel

Cystic duct:
● Attaches gallbladder to extrahepatic bile duct, marks division between common hepatic duct and common bile duct
● Usually 2-4 cm
● Contains spiral valves of Heister

Sacculi of Beale:
● Tiny pits that are infoldings of surface epithelium, and give mucosa a reticular macroscopic appearance

Spiral valves of Heister:
● Folds in proximal mucosa of cystic duct, supported by underlying smooth muscle fibers
● Regulates degree of gallbladder distension


Various images

Additional references

Rom J Morphol Embryol 2010;51:141, Microsc Res Tech 1997;38:552

End of Extrahepatic bile ducts > Normal anatomy

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