GI Systems & Disorders

At Minnesota Gastroenterology, we know that patients and families want to know as much as they can about the GI system and disorders that affect their daily lives.  Refer to the list below to find the information that is most helpful to you.  If you still have questions, please contact us through our website Quick Links or call (612) 871-1145 to make an office appointment.

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Sphincter of Oddi Dysfunction

What is sphincter of Oddi dysfunction?
The sphincter of Oddi is a circular muscle that opens and closes to control the flow of fluid exiting your pancreatic and common bile duct (drainage routes) into the duodenum (the first part of the small bowel). Sphincter of Oddi dysfunction is the term used to describe abnormal function this muscle which can cause resistance to the flow of bile or pancreatic fluid.

What causes sphincter of Oddi dysfunction?
The exact cause of sphincter of Oddi dysfunction is unknown, but it typically affects young to middle age women after gallbladder surgery. At times the sphincter of Oddi may not relax properly or may be scarred down from passage of gallstones.

What are the symptoms of sphincter of Oddi dysfunction?
The primary symptom of sphincter of Oddi dysfunction is abdominal pain but may include nausea and vomiting. Other symptoms of sphincter of Oddi dysfunction may be elevated liver lab tests or pancreatitis (inflammation of pancreas gland).

How is sphincter of Oddi dysfunction diagnosed?
Your doctor will review your medical history and may order lab tests or X-rays. If sphincter of Oddi dysfunction is suspected, a procedure called Sphincter of Oddi Manometry is used to diagnose sphincter of Oddi dysfunction. This procedure is performed during ERCP (an endoscopic procedure to examine bile and pancreatic ducts). Sphincter of Oddi Manometry is a procedure used to obtain pressure measurements of the sphincter of Oddi muscle.

How is sphincter of Oddi dysfunction treated?
Your doctor may use multiple methods to treat your sphincter of Oddi dysfunction. Your doctor may prescribe medications to help relax the muscles of the sphincter of Oddi such anti-spasmotics. ERCP also may be performed to help treat sphincter of Oddi dysfunction. During ERCP, the doctor places a thin flexible tube down your esophagus, stomach and first part of the small bowel to access the sphincter of Oddi through the small bowel. Your doctor may then elect to make a small incision in the sphincter of Oddi, place a stent, or inject medication into the sphincter of Oddi. In some cases, your doctor may also recommend surgery.