Biliary Reconstruction

Also known as: bile duct reconstruction, bile duct repair.

What is a biliary reconstruction?

The bile ducts are a part of the body the delivers bile from the liver to the small intestines. If the bile ducts are missing or damaged, biliary reconstruction can repair the damage. This condition usually occurs during an operation to remove the gallbladder (cholecystectomy) or because of a tumor or other congenital problem (biliary or choledochal cyst) where the bile ducts must be removed.

What happens during the procedure?

The nature of the procedure will vary based on what type of biliary reconstruction is needed and the timing of the surgery. Some reconstructions involve only small suture repairs to the ducts or sewing the remaining ducts to the nearby bowel while others involve replacing the ducts with small intestine or the appendix.

Often the surgeon will leave a drain in the bile duct itself (T-tube) or next to the reconstruction suture line.

Is any special preparation needed?

Like with any major surgery, your doctor will discuss the preoperative procedure, usually refraining from eating to leave an empty stomach and avoiding medications which interfere with blood clotting.

What is recovery like?

Usually, after a major biliary reconstruction, hospital admission is almost always required. In most cases, there will be drains in place to help check for leak and control it if it occurs. Once the patient can eat, he or she can often go home, even with drains in place. A T-tube will be left in for several weeks, until a dye study shows the repair is intact.

What are the risk factors?

Wound infection and bleeding can occur with any surgery. An infection in the bile ducts, called cholangitis, and leaks of the reconstruction can be serious complications, which your team will be alert for in the recovery period.


Reviewed by: Cathy Anne Burnweit, MD

This page was last updated on: April 22, 2021 04:31 PM

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