The bile ducts in your body are a network of tubes or pipes connecting the gallbladder, pancreas, and liver and transporting bile to the digestive system to process the food we eat. The bile ducts also remove waste from our organs, amongst other essential jobs. However, like other structures in the body, the bile duct can begin to malfunction due to inflammation or obstruction. This can be due to cysts, benign and malignant tumors, and infections such as pancreatitis or cholangitis. Bile duct injuries are often excruciating and can be fatal if left untreated.
Bile Duct Removal
Also known as bile duct resection, removing bile ducts affected by cancer and surrounding tissue is a specialized procedure. These procedures are performed either laparoscopically or robotically to reduce pain and speed recovery. Once the bile duct is removed, patients will continue their cancer treatment with chemotherapy or radiation, if necessary.
Depending on where the bile ducts are located, you may also require a liver resection or pancreas resection.
These procedures are often very complicated and can last several hours. Recovery in the hospital can last up to a week or more. During this time, your surgeon and the medical team at the hospital will be evaluating you for any potential concerns and preparing you for a return home along with subsequent cancer treatment if necessary.
Bile Duct Repairs
Bile duct repairs are most often performed when there is a trauma to the bile duct resulting from an injury. This may be due to a complication during surgery or severe trauma. Once diagnosed using ultrasound, endoscopy, or cholangiography, we treat possible infections usually caused by bile leakage within the body. Bile ducts can be repaired via an end-to-end anastomosis, where two ends of a bile duct are reconnected surgically. The bile duct may also need to be reconstructed and bypassed using a small piece of intestinal tissue. These procedures can be performed at one time or may require multiple surgeries, depending on the extent of the injury.
The Bottom Line
As with any abdominal concern requiring surgery, the surgeons at MIIS can leverage their extensive experience and knowledge to develop a treatment plan, including complex minimally invasive or robotic surgical repair. Most importantly, you should never ignore the symptoms of abdominal pain. Choosing a highly qualified surgeon in the procedure you are looking to undergo is critical to safety and success. We encourage you to contact our office for a consultation and learn more about our hepatobiliary program, including bile duct cancer treatment.