Pancreatic and Biliary Diseases Treatments and Programs

The Pancreatic and Biliary Diseases Program at Cedars-Sinai is dedicated to fighting conditions such as acute and chronic pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and gallstones.

About the Pancreas and Biliary Tract

The pancreas is a solid organ that sits behind the stomach. It has two types of cells. One produces enzymes that break down proteins, fats and carbohydrates as your food is digested. These enzymes flow into small channels called ducts. The ducts eventually drain into the first part of the small intestine called the duodenum. Food passing through this area causes the pancreas to make digestive enzymes.

The other type of cells produce hormones. One is insulin, which controls the body's ability to use glucose, its main source of energy. The pancreas makes other hormones, all of which pass into the blood that flows through the organ.

The biliary tract is comprised of the organs and ducts that make, store and deliver bile into the duodenum. Bile is a thick, bitter fluid made by the liver. It helps the small intestine digest fats and remove waste products. It passes from the liver's bile duct into the duodenum, as needed. The gallbladder collects and stores bile as it drains from the liver. It does this through the common bile duct where the liver, gallbladder and pancreatic ducts join.

Conditions of the Pancreas and Biliary Tract

The pancreas and biliary tract are so key to digestion that when they don't work properly, it affects the entire body. Pancreatic and biliary tract problems can lead to severe stomach pain, bloating, nausea and vomiting, among other things. Anyone with such symptoms, especially when they are severe and long lasting, should see a doctor immediately.

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