The diagram below depicts the relationship between the liver, pancreas, gallbladder, stomach and duodenum.
The liver is divided into 8 segments based on its blood supply. The understanding of liver anatomy enables a surgeon to accurately locate and safely remove suspected liver tumours.
The liver produces bile in order to digest fat, which is stored in the gallbladder and passes into the small bowel (duodenum) via the bile duct. The gallbladder can develop gallstones and these can be very painful and present with symptoms such as acute inflammation (acute cholecystitis), jaundice and pancreatitis.
Gallstones can sometimes pass through into the bile duct and cause an obstruction of the flow of bile resulting in jaundice and/or pancreatitis. Therefore, some patients will require a specialised camera test via the stomach called an Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-pancreatography (ERCP), which has a specialised side-viewing camera in order to locate the ampulla (bile and pancreatic duct opening in the duodenum) and consequently remove the stones. Endoscopic Ultrasound (EUS) is also utilised in this way and has a small ultrasound probe at its tip, which can help with the diagnosis of pancreatic tumours as well as small bile duct stones.
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