Bile duct

Any of the ducts by which bile is carried from the liver, first to the gallbladder and then to the duodenum (the first section of the small intestine). The bile duct system forms a network of tubular canals. Canaliculi (small canals) surround the liver cells and collect the bile. The canaliculi join together to form ducts of increasing size. The ducts emerge from the liver as the 2 hepatic ducts, which join within or just outside the liver to form the common hepatic duct. The cystic duct branches off to the gallbladder; from this point the common hepatic duct becomes the common bile duct and leads into the duodenum. (See also biliary system.)


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