Common Bile Duct Stones
If you have been diagnosed with common bile duct stones, we’re here to plan the most convenient treatment for you. At the Hernia Gallbladder Centre WA we combine expert surgery with a culture of genuine patient care. Gallbladder and liver specialists work together with highly qualified and experienced dietitians, to support you at any time throughout your treatment journey.
Choledocholitiasis or common bile duct stones
What are common bile duct stones?
Common bile duct stones are also referred to as Choledocholitiasis and you may also hear the description “gallstones in the common bile duct”. In simple words, the bile duct sends bodily fluids to the intestines to help digest your food. The fluid (bile) flows from the liver and the gallbladder into a segment of the small intestine (the duodenum) and that's where the food is collected once it has been digested by your stomach. So if something goes wrong with the collection or the flow of bile duct, it affects the absorption of nutrients and the normal function of our body.
An imbalance in the chemical composition of bile can cause the formation of stones in the gallbladder, and also in the common bile duct. Stones that are small in size can pass through into the common bile duct and create an obstruction.
A stone in the common bile duct can remain there without causing significant symptoms, but when it obstructs the duct, it can cause you to feel abdominal pain, loss of appetite, fever, stools that are clay-coloured, nausea or jaundice.
In other cases, when a common bile duct stone also obstructs the duct that drains the pancreas, it may be the cause of pancreatitis.
Common bile duct stones treatment
The treatment options for common bile duct stones will depend mostly on whether you have sepsis (a life-threatening systemic bacterial infection, or also known as cholangitis). If you're diagnosed with sepsis, it will mean that you need urgent hospital treatment. Intravenous antibiotics are used, and you may undergo an ERCP (flexible camera procedure via the mouth; Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreatography). The procedure allows your surgeon to remove the gallstones that are blocking the common bile duct.
In case you do not have a bacterial infection and do not require the urgent treatment pathway, Treatment of common bile duct stones may consist of a bile duct exploration procedure. It is also referred to as a combined laparoscopic cholecystectomy (gallbladder removal) and bile duct exploration.
At the Hernia & Gallbladder Centre WA we value clear communication and genuine patient support. That's why, when you speak to your specialist doctor at our clinic, we will first assess the nature of the pain you experience. Then, we will plan the routine tests that support a thorough diagnosis. The next step is to plan the most convenient and the most recommended treatment for you.
Our mission is clear: delivering the best possible surgical outcomes, and focusing on supporting you throughout the journey.
With a condition like common bile duct stones, we work together as a team of surgeons and dietitians. The diet component is important because bile is an important bodily fluid to break down fat in our digestion. One of the first things we will do as we prepare your treatment plan, is giving you clear guidelines for a healthy diet containing a well defined and moderate amount of fats and lots of fibre.
In case of a gallbladder removal procedure, it's important to remember that your liver is still producing bile, and your body will still have the capacity to digest fat.
Typical advice from our qualified dietitians will include sample meal plans, to include low-fat and fat-free foods. We will also help you make small changes to limit your fat intake, introducing steaming instead of frying for example. Our dietitians will also help you assess and interpret the labels on packaged food, to make well informed choices after your surgery. That's because at the Hernia & Gallbladder Centre WA we offer genuine care and support to every single patient and...we never give up on your health!