Choledochal Cysts | Diagnosis & Treatment

How are choledochal cysts diagnosed?

Some choledochal cysts are detected on an ultrasound before a child is born.

Sometimes after a baby is born, the child's parent or doctor may notice a mass in the upper right abdomen.

A combination of tests help doctors verify that a child has choledochal cysts:

How are choledochal cysts treated?

Children with choledochal cysts need surgery to remove them. This involves removing a lobe of the liver if the cysts are intrahepatic, or part of the duct outside of the liver if the cysts are located there. This surgery also includes biliary reconstruction using a piece of intestine.

Minimally invasive surgery

Surgeon are often able to remove choledochal cysts with a minimally invasive surgery called a laparoscopy. With this technique, small instruments guided by a small telescope are passed through the body.

In many cases children, can go home one to two days and return to their normal activities more quickly than children who have open surgery.

Other benefits of minimally invasive surgery include:

  • very small scars, which are difficult to see after several months
  • less pain after surgery
  • usually a shorter hospital stay

Without surgery, children with choledochal cysts have an ongoing risk of other problems:

In adulthood, choledochal cysts can become cancerous if left untreated.