Common bile duct

Dr Craig Hacking and Dr Lawrence Oh et al.

The common bile duct (CBD), which is sometimes simply known as the bile duct, is formed by the union of the cystic duct and common hepatic duct

The CBD is approximately 8 cm long and usually <6 mm wide in diameter but this can be dependent on a number of factors including age and prior cholecystectomy. It joins the pancreatic duct at the ampulla of Vater, which drains into the second part of the duodenum through the major duodenal papilla.

The common bile duct is supplied by a network of arteries from several sources:

There are four main relationships of the CBD with the pancreatic head 2:

  • partially covered posteriorly (most common: ~50%)
  • completely covered
  • completely uncovered
  • CBD may pass laterally to the pancreatic head (least common)
Anatomy: Abdominopelvic
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Article information

rID: 24814
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:
  • CBD
  • Common bile duct (CBD)

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1
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  • Figure 2: common duct anatomy and variation
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  • Case 1: normal CT intravenous cholangiogram
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