Liver and intrahepatic bile ducts - nontumor
Developmental anomalies / cysts
Choledochal cyst

Topic Completed: 1 April 2012

Revised: 22 January 2019, last major update April 2012

Copyright: (c) 2002-2017,, Inc.

PubMed Search: Liver choledochal cyst[TI] free full text[sb]

Komal Arora, M.D.
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Cite this page: Arora K. Choledochal cyst. website. Accessed September 23rd, 2019.
Definition / general
  • Cystic dilatations of the biliary tree; can involve the extrahepatic biliary radicles, the intrahepatic biliary radicles or both
  • Classified into 5 types (Am J Surg 1977;134:263)
  • Classically presents with pain, right upper quadrant mass and jaundice, particularly in children
  • Cholangitis symptoms may predominate in adults
  • Usually women
  • 14% develop adenocarcinoma with increasing age
Diagrams / tables

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Choledochal cyst classification

Clinical images

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Intraoperative view of choledochal cyst

Gross description
  • Often huge cysts
Microscopic (histologic) description
  • Thick fibrous wall, often inflamed
  • Discontinuous columnar epithelium; variable squamous metaplasia (Can J Surg 2009;52:434)
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