Pancreaticobiliary Disorders

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UC San Diego Health System is a national leader in diagnosing and treating complex disorders of the pancreas and bile ducts. Obstructions, tumors, injuries, leakages and lesions can occur in these structures. These conditions are known as pancreaticobiliary disorders.

The pancreas has an important role in the body in the creation of hormones such as insulin which go into the bloodstream (for endocrine functioning) and digestive enzymes such as trypsin, amylase and lipase (for exocrine functioning) which allow digestion of ingested food. The enzymes from the pancreas drain into the small intestine (duodenum) through the ampulla of Vater. The ampulla of Vater also drains liquids made by the liver called bile, which is initially stored in the gallbladder and then secreted via the common bile duct through the ampulla and into the duodenum.

Our pancreaticobiliary disease team combines specialized surgeons, gastroenterologists, endoscopists, radiologists and oncologists to address pancreaticobiliary conditions, including:

  • Bile duct stones
  • Gallstones
  • Acute, recurrent and chronic pancreatitis
  • Autoimmune pancreatitis
  • Hereditary pancreatitis
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Pancreatic stones
  • Choledocholithiasis
  • Congenital diseases of the bile ducts
  • Cystic lesions of the pancreas
  • Stones and strictures of the pancreas
  • Noncancerous tumors of the pancreas and bile ducts
  • Leakage in the bile ducts or pancreatic ducts

Treatments

Our gastrointestinal endoscopists are world leaders in the field of endoscopic ultrasound (EUS). EUS is a procedure that combines videoendoscopy and ultrasound, which allows visualization of the pancreaticobiliary system during an upper endoscopy. EUS is the most accurate method of detecting stones and tumors in this area. Endoscopists can then utilize selective endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP), a procedure that combines X-ray and video endoscopy technologies, to remove stones and place stents into the bile ducts.