Hepatobiliary Disorders

Disorders of the liver and biliary system (which creates and stores bile) may require surgical correction. These disorders can be developmental or congenital, or they may manifest later in childhood or adolescence. At Mount Sinai, we have expertise in diagnosing and treating a variety of liver and biliary tract disorders including:

  • Benign gallbladder diseases include infections (cholecystitis) and gallstones causing symptoms (biliary colic).
  • Bile duct cysts (choledochal cysts) stem from abnormal development of the biliary system and have been associated with cancer (cholangiocarcinoma) as well as infection of the bile duct (cholangitis).
  • Biliary atresia can prevent bile from being able to drain from the liver into the intestine. It stems from abnormal development of the biliary system.

Diagnosis and Treatment

We typically diagnose hepatobiliary disorders by using several tests:

  • Blood tests measure liver function and blood clotting.
  • Liver biopsies involve removing a small piece of the tumor to test is in the lab.
  • Imaging tests such as ultrasounds, nuclear scans and cholangiograms (an imaging test of the ducts draining the liver and gallbladder) give us a picture of what is happening inside your child’s body.

If we find that your child has a hepatobiliary disorder, we often treat it by removing the cyst or gallbladder. For benign gall bladder disease, we remove the organ. In the case of biliary atresia, we may need to reconstruct the biliary system and adjust the process of bile drainage. For a bile duct cyst, we typically need to remove the gallbladder and bile duct and then reconstruct the biliary system with intestine. Whenever possible, we use a minimally invasive approach.