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Bile Duct Diseases

Bile Duct Injury

The most common cause is an injury to the bile duct during cholecystectomy surgery (gallbladder removal).  In addition to trauma to the bile duct, injury to the hepatic artery (the blood vessel that supplies blood to the liver) can occur during this surgery as well.  Bile duct injuries result in serious illness and need to be addressed in a timely manner.

Causes – Injury to the bile duct can result in the development of a bile duct stricture or bile duct leakage into the abdominal cavity. The normal recovery period for laparoscopic cholecystectomy is ten days to two weeks. Patients who experience discomfort or develop fevers and jaundice after the normal recovery period should be evaluated for a possible bile duct injury. Patients who develop delayed symptoms usually have an injury to the bile duct that has caused scarring and a narrowing of the bile duct.

Symptoms – Can be present shortly after the injury occurs or they can develop many weeks or months later.

  • Persistent pain and discomfort
  • Abdominal distention
  • Fever
  • Nausea
  • Vomiting
  • Jaundice

Diagnosis 

  • Diagnosis is made through symptom identification.

Treatment 

  • The repair of a bile duct injury is a complicated procedure, and the best results are obtained at a center with experience.

Tulane University, Department of Surgery, 1430 Tulane Ave. SL-22 New Orleans, LA 70112 504-988-5128 surgery@tulane.edu