Bile duct injuries are rare and can be challenging to diagnose.
What is the bile duct?
The bile duct is a small tube that carries bile, made by the liver, to the gallbladder and then down into the intestine. Bile contains water, salts, cholesterol, and bile pigments. It helps break down fats in the body and helps get rid of waste products from food digestion.
What is a bile duct injury?
Bile duct injuries are rare and often occur in Motor Vehicle Collisions (MVCs). The most common type of bile duct injury is acute cholecystitis, which means inflammation of your gallbladder (also known as a gallbladder attack). This happens when something gets stuck in your gallbladder or inside your bile ducts, causing inflammation and swelling of these organs. This can cause severe complications if left untreated. These include life-threatening infections that spread throughout your body. If you think you have a bile duct injury, seek medical attention right away.
What causes a bile duct injury?
Accident trauma to the abdomen
Bile duct injuries can occur after an accidental trauma to the abdomen, such as a car accident or fall that causes blunt abdominal trauma. These types of injuries often don’t show up on X-rays and can cause a lot of damage to internal organs without causing any external signs of injury. You may be entitled to compensation if you or a loved one has been hurt in an accident. Hire an experienced injury lawyer to help you navigate the process.
The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ that sits below the liver and stores bile produced by the liver. The bile is released into the intestine to help break down fats in food. If you have gallstones, they can get stuck in the bile ducts leading from the gallbladder to your small intestine. This can cause inflammation and swelling of these ducts, sometimes leading to infection or blockage of the bile ducts altogether.
If your doctor diagnoses you with gallstones or an inflamed or blocked bile duct, they may recommend removing your gallbladder through a surgery known as cholecystectomy. In this procedure, your surgeon makes several small incisions in your abdomen and removes your gallbladder through one of them.
After surgery, most people take pain medications for several days while their wounds heal. Most people can go home after one night in the hospital without anesthesia or surgery complications.
Transplantation is a surgical procedure that involves removing one of your organs and replacing it with another organ from another person who has died. In some cases, this may require removing your entire liver, which could lead to damage or scarring of the common bile duct.
Infection to the bile duct
An infection in the bile ducts is another possible cause of bile duct damage. This can happen when bacteria from food poisoning or other sources enter your small intestine through your mouth and travel through your digestive tract into your liver, where they can infect the bile ducts. An infection in this area can cause serious problems with digestion and lead to severe health problems if not treated quickly.