Biliary means relating to bile or the system in the body
that transports bile. Bile is a bitter, yellow-green
substance released from the liver that carries away
waste products. The liver is the largest organ in the
body and is responsible for filtering (removing) harmful
chemical substances, producing important chemicals for
the body, and other important functions. Biliary can also
refer to anything that affects bile-conveying structures.
The word “biliary” has numerous uses in the field of medicine. The most common use is
for the biliary tract (or biliary system), which is the path in the body by which bile is
secreted by the liver and sent to first part of the small intestine (known as the duodenum).
The small intestine is the part of the intestine that takes in all of the nutrients (healthy
substances) that the body needs. Biliary is also used as part of the term “primary biliary
cirrhosis” which is a chronic disease that causes the bile ducts in the liver to become
inflamed, damaged, and eventually destroyed. A duct is a tube that allows fluids and/or
substances to pass through it. Biliary obstruction refers to the blockage of a bile duct.
Biliary atresia is a condition in which the common bile duct between the liver and small
intestine is blocked or absent. The problem can be present from birth or acquired. Cancer
of the bilary system is known as biliary tract cancer.
Biliary comes from the Latin word "bilis" meaning "bile."