What is a choledochal cyst?

Congenital enlargement or dilatation of bile duct is known as choledochal cyst. Bile duct transports bile from liver to gall bladder and finally in to small intestine.

Choledochal Cyst Types

How common is a choledochal cyst?

Choledochal cyst is a rare disorder. The exact incidence is unknown. The prevalence is higher in Japanese population.

It is four times more common in girls.

What are the symptoms of a choledochal cyst?

Choledochal cyst does not cause symptoms on its own. However, the complications which occur due to choledochal cyst can cause symptoms like pain in upper abdomen, jaundice, fever, vomiting and lump in abdomen.

The complications are obstructive jaundice, cholangitis (infection in biliary system), stone formation, pancreatitis, perforation of cyst, liver cirrhosis and development of cancer later in life.

Choledochal cyst can present in adults due to lack of symptoms in childhood.

What are tests to be done?

Sonography of the abdomen is the primary investigation. MRCP (MRI of biliary system) will confirm the diagnosis and type of choledochal cyst. Blood investigations including liver function tests will be required.

What is the treatment?

Surgery is the only treatment. Surgery removes the dilated bile duct and gall bladder. The normal flow of bile is restored by connecting normal bile duct (hepatic duct) and small intestine (jejunum or duodenum).

What are the risks?

It is a major surgery. The few risks are bleeding, infection and leak from suture line.

What is the long term outcome?

Long term outcome after surgery is excellent and most of the children live a normal life.