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Bile duct diseases

Bile duct stones :

Bile duct stones are gallstones in the bile duct. They can start in the gallbladder and migrate into the bile duct or they can form in the bile duct itself. The stones can become lodged in the bile duct, causing a blockage. At the Bile Duct and Pancreatic Diseases Program, part of the University of Michigan’s Division of Gastroenterology, our multidisciplinary team provides the newest in minimally invasive treatments for bile duct stones. These treatments are not widely available and are performed by experienced gastroenterologists with high volumes in these procedures.  Gallstones and bile duct stones (also known as choledocholithiasis) are the same, just located in two different areas of the body. Stones may pass spontaneously out of the bile duct on their own. However, when a stone gets stuck in the bile duct, medical intervention is necessary, otherwise, inflammation, bacterial infection, and even severe organ damage can occur.

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Bile duct stones happen when gallstones, which often cause no symptoms, move out of the gallbladder and into the bile duct, blocking the duct.

  • have a family history of gallstones
  • are pregnant
  • are female
  • are over the age of 60 years
  • have obesity
  • eat a very high-fat diet
  • have a sedentary lifestyle


Often there are no symptoms for bile duct stones until a stone causes a blockage in the bile duct. Then symptoms can include:

  • Severe abdominal pain (can occur irregularly and last for hours at a time)
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever
  • Jaundice
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