Common Bile Duct Injury

Removal of the gallbladder (also known as cholecystectomy) is considered a relatively safe procedure; however it is still a procedure which goes wrong from time to time. 

Gallbladder Surgery

Surgery to remove your gallbladder is usually carried out if you have painful gallstones. You don't need a gallbladder, so surgery to take it out is often recommended if you develop any problems with it.

There are two main ways gallbladder removal surgery can be performed:

1.    Laparoscopic (keyhole) surgery – several small cuts are made in your abdomen to access and remove your gallbladder.

2.    Open surgery- one large incision is made to your abdomen to access and remove your gallbladder.

Laparoscopic surgery is performed whenever possible because you can usually leave hospital the same day, recovery is faster and you are left with smaller scars.

Possible Complications

As with any surgery there are possible complications, the most serious one is injury to the common bile duct. During the surgery the cystic duct and cystic artery are clipped after which the gallbladder can be removed. Sometimes during the surgery the bile duct or hepatic duct may be injured, leading to bile leakage and the need for further surgery.

If the damage is detected at the time of the surgery, it may be repaired immediately. However it can often occur without being detected, leading to a major bile leak after the surgery. If left undetected, peritonitis can set in, which can lead to serious complications such as sepsis, which may require treatment in intensive care, and could even be fatal if left untreated.

Damage can also occur to;

1.    The hepatic duct, which will require immediate repair if possible.

2.    The intestine, bowel or major blood vessels, which can have serious consequences.

Making a Claim

We understand that when something goes wrong during what should have been a routine procedure it can have a devastating effect on your life and health. You are likely to be able to pursue a claim for clinical negligence if:

1.    The surgeon mistakenly clips the bile duct instead of the cystic duct;

2.    The surgeon nicks, cuts or damages the bile duct or the hepatic duct, with a surgical instrument;

3.    The surgeon causes injury to the bowel or any other major organ;

4.    If there is a failure to monitor you after surgery, and a bile duct leak occurs, and it is undetected, such that peritonitis sets in;

5.    If there is a failure to monitor you after surgery, and damage has occurred to the bowel or major blood vessel during surgery that goes undetected.

If you are concerned about the treatment you have received during or following gallbladder surgery please call us on 0113 284 5745 or email clinneg@isonharrison.co.uk. A member of our team will listen to your story and deal with your enquiry in a sensitive matter.

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