WHAT IS A BILIARY OBSTRUCTION?
A biliary obstruction describes a blockage in your bile ducts, which carry bile from your liver and gallbladder through your pancreas and into your small intestine. Bile is a fluid your liver produces to help digest and absorb fats from your diet while clearing your liver of waste.
When the bile ducts become obstructed, it can lead to several complications. If left untreated, a biliary obstruction can cause a life-threatening liver condition.
WHAT CAUSES A BILIARY OBSTRUCTION?
A blockage in the bile ducts can occur for several reasons. You may develop a biliary obstruction due to:
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Narrowing of the bile duct (strictures)
You can also experience biliary obstruction due to a traumatic injury or from cirrhosis, a condition that results from scarring in the liver.
WHAT ARE THE SYMPTOMS OF BILIARY OBSTRUCTION?
The symptoms of biliary obstruction depend on the root cause of the blockage. Some of the most common symptoms you may experience include:
- Dark urine
- Abdominal pain
- Light-colored stools
- Unexplained weight loss
You may also notice yellowing in the whites of your eyes, a condition known as jaundice.
HOW IS A BILIARY OBSTRUCTION DIAGNOSED?
Dr. Ashwath might perform any or all of the following:
- Blood work
The team also uses hepatobiliary iminodiacetic acid (HIDA) scan, an outpatient procedure that uses scan technology to follow radiotracers your provider injects into your bloodstream.
HOW IS A BILIARY OBSTRUCTION TREATED?
The goals of treating a biliary obstruction are to address the root cause of the blockage and prevent long-term complications, like infections and chronic liver disease.
As part of your surgery, your provider may also place a stent inside the duct to keep it open and allow bile to flow through properly.