Pancreas, Gallbladder & Bile Duct Care

UC San Diego Health is designated as a Pancreatitis Center of Excellence by the National Pancreas Foundation.

This honor recognizes premier health facilities that focus on high-quality, patient-centered care that leads to the best possible outcomes and improved quality of life.

More about the National Pancreas Foundation

The pancreas has an important role in the body in the creation of hormones and enzymes that support exocrine and endocrine functioning.

This includes:

  • Insulin, which goes into the bloodstream (for endocrine functioning)
  • Digestive enzymes such as trypsin, amylase and lipase (for exocrine functioning), allow the 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.

Obstructions, tumors, injuries, leakages and lesions can occur in these structures. These conditions are known as pancreaticobiliary disorders.

Conditions We Treat

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


Our gastrointestinal endoscopists are world leaders in the field of endoscopic ultrasound (EUS). EUS is a procedure that combines video endoscopy 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 use 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.