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Bile Ducts

Tubes that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder for storage and to the small intestine for use in digestion.

PubMed Health Glossary
(Source: NIH - National Institute of Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases)

About Bile Ducts

The bile ducts carry bile, a liquid the liver makes to help break down food. A group of small bile ducts called the biliary tree in the liver empties bile into the larger common bile duct. Between meals, the common bile duct closes and bile collects in the gallbladder a pear-shaped sac next to the liver.

The pancreatic ducts carry pancreatic juice, a liquid the pancreas makes to help break down food. A group of small pancreatic ducts in the pancreas empties into the main pancreatic duct.

The common bile duct and the main pancreatic duct join before emptying their contents into the duodenum through the papillary orifice at the end of the duodenal papilla — a small, nipple-like structure that extends into the duodenum. NIH - National Institute for Diabetes and Digestive and Kidney Diseases

Terms to know

Colon (Bowel)
The longest part of the large intestine, which is a tube-like organ connected to the small intestine at one end and the anus at the other. The colon removes water and some nutrients and electrolytes from partially digested food. The remaining material, solid waste called stool, moves through the colon to the rectum and leaves the body through the anus.
Gallbladder
The organ that stores the bile made in the liver and that is connected to the liver by bile ducts. The gallbladder can store about 2 tablespoons of bile. Eating signals the gallbladder to empty the bile through the bile ducts to help the body digest fats.
Liver
The largest abdominal organ. The liver carries out many important functions, such as making important blood proteins and bile, changing food into energy, and cleaning alcohol and poisons from the blood.
Lobe
A portion of an organ, such as the liver, lung, breast, thyroid, or brain.
Pancreas
An organ that makes insulin and enzymes for digestion. The pancreas is located behind the lower part of the stomach and is about the size of a hand.
Small Intestine
The organ where most digestion occurs. It measures about 20 feet and includes the duodenum, jejunum, and ileum.
Spleen
An organ that is part of the lymphatic system. The spleen makes lymphocytes, filters the blood, stores blood cells, and destroys old blood cells. It is located on the left side of the abdomen near the stomach.
Stomach
An organ that is part of the digestive system. The stomach helps digest food by mixing it with digestive juices and churning it into a thin liquid.

Terms to know

Colon (Bowel)
The longest part of the large intestine, which is a tube-like organ connected to the small intestine at one e...
Gallbladder
The organ that stores the bile made in the liver and that is connected to the liver by bile ducts. The gallbl...
Liver
The largest abdominal organ. The liver carries out many important functions, such as making important blood p...
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