Cystic duct

Last revised by Dr Daniel J Bell on 25 Oct 2019

The cystic duct connects the neck of the gallbladder to the common hepatic duct (CHD), draining bile to and from the biliary tree.

The confluence of the cystic duct and the common hepatic duct forms the common bile duct (CBD). The cystic duct is approximately 2-3 cm long and 2-3 mm in diameter. 

The cystic artery (branch of right hepatic artery) can often travel behind the cystic duct to supply the gallbladder. 

There are three main variations of the cystic duct 3:

  • low cystic duct insertion: into the distal-third of the CHD (~10%)
  • medial cystic duct insertion: into the left, not the right, side of the CHD (~15%)
  • parallel cystic duct course: courses parallel to the CHD for at least 2 cm (~10%)

Conditions that may affect the cystic duct include:

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Cases and figures

  • Figure 1
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  • Figure 2: cystic duct anatomic variation
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  • Case 1: normal cystic duct
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  • Case 2: Normal cystic duct (ultrasound)
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  • Case 3: low insertion and parallel course
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  • Case 4: low medial insertion
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