Biliary tree

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Within the liver, bile ductules converge to form right and left hepatic ducts, which leave the liver at the porta hepatis and unite to form the common hepatic duct. The common hepatic duct is joined by the cystic duct to form the common bile duct. The common bile duct descends in the free edge of the lesser omentum, then passes behind the first part of the duodenum and, either behind, or within the substance of the pancreas, it is joined by the main pancreatic duct to form the hepatopancreatic ampulla (of Vater) which opens into the duodenum at the major duodenal papilla.


  • describe the formation of the common bile duct and the course it takes to reach the duodenum
  • define the terms major duodenal papilla, hepatopancreatic ampulla (of Vater)