Now that you have seen the normal anatomy, let's look at some problems that can occur.
The pancreatic and bile ducts are hollow tubes that allow important fluids to travel from the pancreas, liver and gallbladder into the small intestine. Sometimes, ducts can narrow or become blocked. When this happens, these important fluids either get stuck in one of the ducts, or only a small amount goes through. The most common reason for blockage is gallstones; however, abnormal growths, previous surgeries, inflammation or infection can also cause a narrowing or blockage.
Gallstones are small hard masses made of cholesterol and bile salts that form in the gallbladder or in the bile duct. It is uncertain why some people form gallstones and there is no known way to prevent them. If these stones block the bile duct, you will experience abdominal pain and jaundice, which is a yellowing of the skin.
These examples represent some of the more common problems that can develop. However, there are many other problems that can occur in this area. Your doctor will be able to describe to you what might be causing your symptoms and the abnormal findings associated with them.