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Bile ducts are tubes that transport bile from the liver to the gallbladder and small intestines. Choledochal cysts are anomalies in the bile ducts that are congenital, or present at birth. Choledochal cysts can impact the function of the liver, gallbladder and pancreas and require surgical removal and repair to reduce risk of health complications. Dr. Dmitri Alden offers advanced options in choledochal cysts treatment through his practice in NYC.

Types of Choledochal Cysts

There are four main types of choledochal cysts. These cysts can form in the bile ducts inside or outside the liver, causing bile to back up into the liver and pancreas. The type of cyst is determined by the location, which includes the following classifications:

  • Type 1 – up to 90% of choledochal cysts are type 1 and located in extrahepatic bile duct
  • Type 2 – abnormal sac or pouch at the opening of the bile duct
  • Type 3 – a cyst that occurs in the small intestine or duodenum
  • Type 4 – cysts that occur in both the extrahepatic and intrahepatic ducts

All choledochal cysts are present at birth, but not all are detected during infancy. In some cases, choledochal cysts are not diagnosed until the patient is older – it is estimated that 20% of these cysts are diagnosed in adults.

Symptoms of Choledochal Cysts

When bile duct cysts create a backup of bile, it can cause inflammation in the bile ducts and may result in liver dysfunction and pancreatitis. Those with choledochal cysts may have the following symptoms:

  • Jaundice (yellowing skin or eyes)
  • Abdominal pain (upper right)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Abdominal swelling

Choledochal cysts are rare, with only an estimated one child in every 100,000-150,000 born with this condition. Surgery is the recommended choledochal cysts treatment to repair the bile duct. Early treatment in childhood can reduce risk of damage to the ducts that could increase risk of cancer in adults. Surgical repair can be performed with minimally invasive techniques for safety and quicker recovery.

If you or your child have symptoms of a choledochal cyst, contact the office of Dr. Dmitri Alden in UES NYC. We can schedule a consultation in-person or virtually with Dr. Alden to discuss treatment options.

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Dmitri Alden, MD, FACS

(212) 434-6216

186 E 76th Street,
New York, NY 10021