Choledochal cysts are connected to the bile duct and fill with bile. They grow slowly and can end up holding as much 2 litres of bile. The cells that line the cysts can be abnormal and occasionally show pre cancerous changes. These cysts are very rare and are present from birth. Most people born with choledochal cysts develop symptoms in early childhood, but some don’t develop symptoms until later. If the cysts are not removed, up to 2 in 10 people (20%) will go on to develop cholangiocarcinoma.
(Caroli’s disease is a condition similar to choledochal cysts, which causes the bile ducts in the liver to dilate. It is a very rare condition which is present at birth and can increase the risk of developing cancer in the bile ducts in the liver.)Back to previous page