Bile Duct Exploration

Bile is made and released by the liver and then sent to the small intestine, where it helps the body break down and absorb food. Bile moves through a network of tube-like structures called bile ducts. The common bile duct connects the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas to the small intestine.

Bile duct exploration is a procedure that is performed to see if anything, such as a stone, is blocking the flow of bile from the liver and gallbladder to the intestine.

When is bile duct exploration performed?

If something is blocking the bile duct, bile can back up into the liver. This can cause jaundice, a condition in which the skin and white of the eyes become yellow.

The bile duct might become infected and require emergency surgery if the stone or blockage is not removed. This procedure can be done during the removal of the gall bladder.

An alternative treatment would be an ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography). You should discuss these options with your doctor.

How should I prepare for a bile duct exploration procedure?

How is the bile duct exploration procedure performed?

After the procedure, you will be stay in the hospital for one to four days. You will also be asked to avoid strenuous activity for four to six days. You will see your doctor for a follow-up visit.

The surgery should relieve your discomfort and will reduce the chance of infection and jaundice.

What are the risks of bile duct exploration?

As with any surgery, there are risks with bile duct exploration, including:

When should I call my doctor after a bile duct exploration?

Call your doctor right away if you have any of these symptoms:

References

 

This information is provided by the Cleveland Clinic and is not intended to replace the medical advice of your doctor or health care provider. Please consult your health care provider for advice about a specific medical condition. For additional health information, please contact the Center for Consumer Health Information at the Cleveland Clinic (216) 444-3771 or toll-free (800) 223-2273 extension 43771. If you prefer, you may visit www.clevelandclinic.org/health/ or www.clevelandclinicflorida.org. This document was last reviewed on: 8/9/2016

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