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Liver, Biliary, and Pancreatic Disorders

Liver Diseases
Your liver is the largest organ inside your body. It helps your body digest food, store energy, and remove poisons.

There are many kinds of liver diseases. Viruses cause some of them, like hepatitis A, hepatitis B and hepatitis C. Others can be the result of drugs, poisons or drinking too much alcohol. If the liver forms scar tissue because of an illness, it's called cirrhosis. Jaundice, or yellowing of the skin, can be one sign of liver disease.

Cancer can affect the liver. You could also inherit a liver disease such as hemochromatosis.

Bile Duct Diseases
Your liver makes a substance called bile that helps with digestion. Your gallbladder stores it until you need it to digest fat. Then your gallbladder pushes the bile into tubes called bile ducts. They carry the bile to your small intestine.

Different diseases can block the bile ducts and cause a problem with the flow of bile. Gallstones are one of the most common causes of blocked bile ducts. Blocked bile ducts may also result from infection, cancer or internal scar tissue. Scarring can block the bile ducts, which can lead to liver failure.

A rare form of bile duct disease called biliary atresia occurs in infants. It is the most common reason for liver transplants in children in the United States.

Pancreatic Diseases

The pancreas is a gland behind your stomach and in front of your spine. It produces juices that help break down food and hormones that help control blood sugar levels. Problems with the pancreas can lead to many health problems. These include
  • Pancreatitis, or inflammation of the pancreas: This happens when digestive enzymes start digesting the pancreas itself
  • Pancreatic cancer
  • Cystic fibrosis, a genetic disorder in which thick, sticky mucus can also block tubes in your pancreas
The pancreas also plays a role in diabetes. In type 1 diabetes, the beta cells of the pancreas no longer make insulin because the body's immune system has attacked them. In type 2 diabetes, the pancreas loses the ability to secrete enough insulin in response to meals.


Ohio State is recognized by U.S.News & World Report as one of the nation's highest performing hospitals in gastroenterology and GI surgery. Schedule an appointment with Ohio State's experts in liver, biliary, and pancreatic disorders. Call 614-293-6255.