Laparoscopic Bile Duct Exploration

What is A Laparoscopic Bile Duct Exploration?

Laparoscopic bile duct exploration is usually performed at the same time as a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The bile duct is a hollow tube that runs from the liver to the small bowel providing passage for the flow of bile. Stones slipping out of the gall bladder and into the bile duct can cause obstruction and jaundice- a yellowing of the skin and eyes as well as acute pancreatitis. Stones within the bile duct may be detected by investigations performed before the operation or alternatively, with an ultrasound scan performed as part of a laparoscopic cholecystectomy.


What is the operation?

The operation is to remove any stones lodged in the common bile duct by making a small cut and passing a camera up and down the duct to visualise the stones before removing them. The opening in the duct is then closed using sutures. A drainage tube is left inside the abdomen at the end of the operation. This procedure is a laparoscopic procedure meaning small incisions will be made in the abdomen so the camera and surgical instruments can be used. As with all laparoscopic procedures, there is a chance they may have to be converted to an open procedure if there are technical problems or scar tissue makes the operation difficult.



This operation may require an overnight stay in hospital for monitoring. The majority of patients will go home the next day although on some occasions there can be a small leakage of bile in the drain which settles after a few days.


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