Ampulla of Vater
The ampulla of Vater, also known as the hepatopancreatic ampulla, is formed by the union of the pancreatic duct and the common bile duct. The ampulla is specifically located at the major duodenal papilla.
Various smooth muscle sphincters regulate the flow of bile and pancreatic juice through the ampulla: the sphincter of the pancreatic duct, the sphincter of the bile duct, and the hepatopancreatic sphincter (sphincter of Oddi).
The sphincter of Oddi controls the introduction of bile and pancreatic secretions into the duodenum, as well as preventing the entry of duodenal contents into the Ampulla.
Pancreatitis and cholecystitis can result from failure of pancreatic and biliary secretions to drain properly. One possible cause of impaired drainage is blockage of the hepatopancreatic ampulla. A common culprit to cause blockage is a gallstone in the common bile duct. Ampullary stenosis can also be a possible cause.
The eponymical term "ampulla of Vater" is named after Abraham Vater (1684-1751), a German anatomist who first published a description of it in 1720.
- "Ampulla, hepatopancreatic." Stedman's Medical Dictionary, 27th ed. (2000). ISBN 0-683-40007-X
- Moore, Keith L. and Arthur F. Dalley. Clinically Oriented Anatomy, 4th ed. (1999). ISBN 0-683-06141-0