ampulla of vater

The ampulla of Vater is a conical structure at the confluence of the common bile duct (CBD) and the main pancreatic duct that protrudes at the major duodenal papilla into the medial aspect of the descending duodenum. The entire structure is encased by smooth muscle fibers that compose the sphincter of Oddi .  It traverses a dehiscence of the duodenal wall and terminates at the major duodenal papilla.

Variant anatomy

The confluence of the common bile and main pancreatic ducts can occur in three ways :

  • a common duct (the ampulla of Vater) ~60% 
  • a “double-barreled” opening at the apex of the papilla ~38% 
  • separate duodenal openings for the two canals ~2% 

History and etymology

Named after Abraham Vater (1684-1751), a German professor of anatomy .

The eponymous terms for both the ampulla and the papilla can be replaced with anatomical terms such as hepatopancreatic or biliopancreatic ampulla and major or greater duodenal papilla, respectively .

Related pathology

Siehe auch:
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