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Bile duct trauma and gallbladder surgery

People in Iowa who undergo gallbladder surgery may also sustain bile duct injuries during the procedure. According to some estimates, 1 percent of laparoscopic cholecystectomies, or gallbladder surgeries, result in trauma to the bile duct, which then causes a bile duct stricture ('blockage") or leak.

A bile duct stricture occurs when the formation of scars on the bile duct result in the constricting of the bile duct. A stricture can also be cause by the physician inadvertently placing a staple ("hemoclip") on the wrong bile duct such as the common bile duct. As a result, bile is unable to flow into the intestine if the bile duct has been narrowed or blocked and will back up into the liver and enter the bloodstream. When bile begins circulating in the blood, it causes obstructive jaundice.  If a bile leak occurs, it can cause a severe infection such a peritonitis which can lead to sepsis, a life threatening condition. 

Individuals who sustain bile duct injuries during a gallbladder surgery may begin exhibiting symptoms not long after the surgery. In other cases, it may be many weeks or months after the injury occurs before symptoms are present. Those with an early onset of symptoms typically have bile that has leaked into their abdominal cavity. This causes fever, jaundice, vomiting, nausea, discomfort and pain. Delayed symptoms associated with bile duct injuries usually include jaundice.

Recovery after a gallbladder surgery tends to occur quickly. This is why it is important that patients who have not improved are thoroughly examined by their physician for bile duct injuries.

Individuals who sustain bile duct injuries as a result of gallbladder surgery may have legal recourse. An attorney who practices medical malpractice law may examine the factors of a client's case and may advise which legal options should be pursued. Medical professional negligence involved with performing the gallbladder surgery may be pursued for financial damages. For example, the surgeon may be held financially liable for any pain and suffering or additional surgeries that resulted from the botched procedure. The surgeon might also be held liable for failing to detect the bile duct injury.

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