Gallbladder and Biliary Disease

Biliary disease refers to diseases that affect the bile ducts, the gallbladder, and other structures that are involved in bile development and transport.
Bile is a liver-generated fluid that helps digestion. Bile drains from the liver to the first portion of the small intestine, or duodenum, via the bile ducts, and finally back to the bile ducts and liver. Several serious diseases can result if any duct in this complex system becomes diseased or blocked. Gallstones develop when the fragile balance of solubility of biliary lipids favors precipitation of cholesterol, unconjugated bilirubin, or bacterial degradation products of biliary lipids.

Risk Factors

The risk of developing biliary disease can be increased by hereditary factors, growing age, obesity, a high-fat diet, certain gastrointestinal disorders, and certain prescription medications.


Although symptoms can vary among disorders of the bile duct, symptoms common to many of the disorders include:

Jaundice, Abdominal pain, Itching, Nausea or vomiting, Fever or chills, Loss of appetite, Light brown urine, and Greasy or clay-colored stools.

Detection and diagnosis

The tests carried out differ according to the alleged condition of the bile duct. However, tests typically conducted to diagnose certain disorders of the bile duct can include:

Blood tests, Endoscopic ultrasound, Liver function tests, Ultrasound, Computed tomography (CT) scan, Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI), and Liver biopsy

Prevention of disease

Biliary disorders due to gallstones can be avoided by the surgical removal of the gallbladder. By eating a well-balanced diet, maintaining a healthy weight, and exercising regularly, the development of gallstones can also be avoided.


Medications / Antibiotics: Patients are treated with medicines to improve the flow of bile from the liver and antibiotics are used to treat the infection.

Hepatoportoenterostomy: Surgery to remove bile from the liver when bile ducts are blocked.

ERCP: This method can help to diagnose and extract gallstones from the bile duct.

Cholecystectomy: Removal of the gallbladder