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Pancreatic Duct
Digestive System

Pancreatic Duct

Ductus pancreaticus

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The pancreatic duct is a duct lined by a single layer of columnar epithelial cells. It ends at the hepatopancreatic ampulla where it typically joins with the bile duct in a dilated space, deep to the major duodenal papilla.

The duodenal end of the pancreatic duct is surrounded by smooth muscle fibers of the duodenal wall, creating a sphincter.

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Key Features/Anatomical Relations

The pancreatic duct is the duct draining the acinar cells of the pancreas derived from the ventral pancreatic bud (Kamisawa, 2004). It’s formed by the union of several interlobular ducts and drains the tail and body of the pancreas before moving inferiorly and towards the posterior surface.

Various anatomic anastomoses with the accessory pancreatic duct may be formed, or it may remain separate (Standring, 2016).


The pancreatic duct drains pancreatic juice from the acinar cells of the tail, body, neck, and posterior head of the pancreas into the duodenum. In cases where the accessory duct is not patent, the major pancreatic duct drains the entire pancreas.

List of Clinical Correlates

- Pancreatitis


Kamisawa, T. (2004) 'Clinical significance of the minor duodenal papilla and accessory pancreatic duct', Journal of Gastroenterology, 39(7), pp. 605-615.

Standring, S. (2016) Gray's Anatomy: The Anatomical Basis of Clinical Practice. Gray's Anatomy Series 41 edn.: Elsevier Limited.

Learn more about this topic from other Elsevier products

Pancreatic Duct

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Disconnected pancreatic duct syndrome (DPDS) is characterised by disruption of the main pancreatic duct with a loss of continuity between the pancreatic duct and the gastrointestinal tract caused by ductal necrosis after severe acute necrotising pancreatitis treated medically, by percutaneous drainage, or necrosectomy.

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