How should I prepare for a bile duct exploration procedure?

  • Eat light the day before.
  • Do not eat or drink anything after midnight.
  • On the morning of surgery, take only the medicines you have been instructed to take.

How is the bile duct exploration procedure performed?

  • You will be given general anesthesia. This will relax your muscles and put you into a deep sleep, so you will feel no pain.
  • The doctor will make a small incision (cut) in the abdomen, locate the bile duct, and inject a dye into the duct. The doctor will then take an X-ray, which will show where the stone or blockage is located.
  • If stones are found, the doctor will make a cut into the bile duct and remove them.
  • The doctor might insert a tube into the bile duct. The tube will come out the skin to drain bile into a bag outside the body. The bag will remain in place from seven days to several weeks.
  • The doctor might repeat the dye procedure before removing your tube.

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:

  • Complications from general anesthesia
  • Swelling or scarring of the bile duct
  • Bile leak
  • Bleeding
  • Infection

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