It’s quite common to not know very much about the biliary or pancreatic systems and their role in the human body until something goes wrong, requiring medical evaluation from an experienced NYC gastroenterologist. Dr. Anthony Borcich is a top GI and pancreatitis doctor in Manhattan who specializes in the diagnosis and treatment of biliary and pancreatic disease and has been published in medical volumes and journals on the subject. If you require biliary disease and pancreatitis treatment, contact us today.
The biliary system is made up of the organs and ducts that are responsible for producing and sending bile through the digestive tract. Bile is a liquid produced in the liver and stored in the gallbladder. When it’s released, it goes into the first part of the small intestine (called the duodenum). Bile plays an important role in digestive physiology because it clears all soluble waste products and aids digestion by managing fats.
The pancreas is a long organ that extends across the back of the abdomen, located just behind the stomach. This organ is made up of two types of glands: the exocrine and endocrine glands. The exocrine gland secretes enzymes that help the body break down foods and the endocrine gland secretes hormones into the bloodstream that help regulate blood sugar levels.
What are biliary and pancreatic diseases?
In the biliary system, there are a number of possible problems that can occur. One of the most common is gallstones. If you have a gallstone, you may have no symptoms at all until you experience complications like inflammation, infection, or obstruction. The main symptom of gallstone disease is the specific, sudden, severe pain that you get when a gallstone blocks a bile duct.
Other serious diseases of the bile system include cholecystitis, an inflammation of the gallbladder, and primary sclerosing cholangitis (PSC), a chronic disease of the bile duct system causing obstruction of bile flow. Even more serious disorders include biliary cirrhosis and biliary duct cancer. Bile duct obstruction from any cause often leads to jaundice, a condition where the skin and eyes turn yellow. This can also lead to itching of the skin. A common early symptom of pancreatic cancer is bile duct obstruction leading to yellow jaundice.
Things that could go wrong in the pancreas include pancreatitis, an inflammation of the pancreas, which may be acute or chronic. Pancreatitis can be life-threatening if it is severe and acute. In addition, if pancreatitis is chronic, it can cause permanent damage to the pancreas, leading to scarring. Pancreatic cancer and cystic fibrosis are also some more serious conditions that can be found in the pancreas.
What causes biliary and pancreatic disease?
Biliary disease and pancreatitis can result from a number of possible causes or factors, including:
- Biliary or pancreatic duct stones
- Obstruction of the pancreatic opening
- A narrow pancreatic duct opening
- Autoimmune disorders
- Traumatic injuries that break or bruise the pancreas
- Choledochal cysts
- Excessive alcohol consumption
What are the symptoms of biliary and pancreatic diseases?
The pancreas and biliary tract are so key to digestion that when they are not working properly, the resulting symptoms can affect the entire body. Biliary and pancreatic disease may cause or coincide with other symptoms, which may include:
- Right upper abdominal pain, sometimes after eating
- Mid-upper abdominal pain with severe penetrating aching or tightness and mid-back pain
- Abdominal bloating and tenderness or hardness that feels like a mass
- Jaundice (skin that appears yellow in tone), usually caused by an obstruction
- Itching, usually associated with cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder)
- Clammy skin
- Chills or low-grade fever
- Low blood pressure
While these are not the only possible symptoms associated with diseases of the pancreas and biliary systems, these represent the symptoms associated with some of the most common disorders. Although many of these may not seem terribly unusual, if you are experiencing any of these symptoms, it is important to get a diagnosis from an experienced gastroenterologist and pancreatitis doctor like Dr. Anthony Borcich.
If left untreated, biliary disease or pancreatitis can lead to worsening symptoms and serious health risks. Some conditions, such as gallstones, may have no symptoms at all until they become extremely painful, and other common everyday manifestations may be signs of very severe biliary or pancreatic conditions. That’s why it’s crucial to be seen by a doctor who specializes in the treatment of pancreas and biliary disorders.
How are biliary and pancreatic diseases treated?
The first step to biliary disease and pancreatitis treatment in NYC begins with a thorough evaluation, including a review of your medical history and your symptoms. In many cases, Dr. Borcich will order an endoscopic ultrasound, endoscopic retrograde cholangiography (ERCP) or other imaging tests in order to make an accurate diagnosis and begin treatment for a pancreatic or biliary disorder. Whenever possible, Dr. Borcich emphasizes the use of minimally invasive and endoscopic treatment techniques.
An evaluation with an experienced Manhattan gastroenterologist is the first step to finding relief from biliary and pancreatic disease symptoms. Anthony Borcich, M.D. specializes in diagnosing and treating disorders of the biliary system and pancreas and is known for his compassionate care and personalized approach. Schedule an appointment today by contacting our office or filling out the schedule appointment form on this page.