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Gallbladder and Biliary Tract Diseases

The biliary tract is a system of organs and ducts that make, store, secrete and transport bile. Bile is a yellow, bitter digestive fluid that helps to break down fat. It is produced by the liver and stored in the gallbladder. A system of bile ducts transports the bile from the liver to the small intestine to aid in digestion, and the bile eventually returns to the liver. When the gallbladder or any part of the biliary tract becomes diseased, serious complications can occur.

Some of the most common gallbladder and biliary tract diseases include:

Patients with advanced gallbladder and biliary tract diseases will find world-class care at the Comprehensive Liver Disease & Transplant Center at Tampa General Hospital’s Transplant Institute. Our hepatobiliary experts create treatment plans that are specific to each patient. While many patients’ conditions can be medically managed, others may require a liver and/or pancreas transplant for the best results.

Causes of Gallbladder & Biliary Tract Diseases

What causes gallbladder and biliary tract diseases can vary. Risk factors can include:

  • Age
  • Obesity
  • A diet high in fat
  • Genetics
  • Certain gastrointestinal conditions
  • Certain medications

Symptoms of Gallbladder & Biliary Tract Diseases

Symptoms can differ among gallbladder and biliary tract disorders. Common symptoms include:

  • Jaundice
  • Itching
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Fever or chills
  • Loss of appetite
  • Weight loss
  • Extreme tiredness
  • Light brown urine
  • Clay-colored stools
  • Pain or discomfort near the upper right side of the abdomen, just under the rib cage

Diagnosing Gallbladder & Biliary Tract Diseases

To diagnose gallbladder and biliary tract diseases, a physician may run certain tests, including:

  • Blood tests
  • Liver function tests
  • Ultrasound
  • Magnetic resonance imaging (MRI)
  • Computed tomography (CT)
  • Liver biopsy

Treatments for Gallbladder & Biliary Tract Diseases at TGH

Not all patients with gallbladder and biliary tract diseases will require a liver or pancreas transplant. Medications, lifestyle changes and other forms of medical management often improve a patient’s quality of life. Patients who do need a transplant may be referred to the Liver Transplant Program in the Comprehensive Liver Disease & Transplant Center. 

Ours is a leading transplant program in the nation, and we treat some of the most complex cases. In addition, we have a shorter-than-average time to transplant and above-average survival rates, according to Scientific Registry of Transplant Recipients data

Become a Patient

To become a patient in our Liver Transplant Program, you, your physician, or another hospital must fill out a referral form or call 813-844-8686. To speak to a transplant coordinator, call 813-844-7137.

Click here to learn more about our liver transplant process.