Cystic duct

Dr Craig Hacking and Dr Lawrence Oh et al.

The cystic duct connects the neck of the gallbladder to the common hepatic duct (CHD), draining bile to and from the biliary tree.

The confluence of the cystic duct and the common hepatic duct forms the common bile duct. The cystic duct is approximately 2-3 cm long and 2-3 mm in diameter. 

The cystic artery (branch of right hepatic artery) can often travel behind the cystic duct to supply the gallbladder. 

There are three main variations of the cystic duct 3:

  • low cystic duct insertion: into the distal-third of the CHD (~10%)
  • medial cystic duct insertion: into the left, not the right, side of the CHD (~15%)
  • parallel cystic duct course: courses parallel to the CHD for at least 2 cm (~10%)

Conditions that may affect the cystic duct include:

Anatomy: Abdominopelvic
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Article information

rID: 24818
Section: Anatomy
Synonyms or Alternate Spellings:

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1
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  • Figure 2: cystic duct anatomic variation
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  • Case 1: normal cystic duct
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  • Case 2: low insertion and parallel course
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  • Case 3: low medial insertion
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