What you need to know about a Choledochotomy Procedure
Choledochotomy is a surgical procedure to open the common bile duct in order to find or remove stones. The common bile duct is a small, tube-like structure forming in the area where the cystic duct and the common hepatic duct join. The procedure is typically performed on people who have palpable stone in the common bile ducts or hepatic, clonorchiasis, and small stones in the gallbladder, as well as people who recently experience jaundice, dilatation or thickening of the bile ducts, thickening of the head of the pancreas, and biliary colic without stones in the gallbladder.
What Does the Procedure Involve?
There are two techniques to perform choledochotomy, laparoscopic surgery and open surgery, both are carried out under general anesthetic. With laparoscopic surgery, your surgeon will make small incisions in your abdomen to insert a laparoscope (a small tube with a camera on its end) and tiny surgical tools to search for or remove the stones in your common bile duct. With open surgery, a single large incision is made in your abdomen, then the common bile duct is examined and any stones inside it are removed.
How Long Should You Stay in the Area?
You will need to stay in the hospital for about 1 to 3 days. Then, after you are discharged, plan to stay in the local area for 7 to 14 more days for your initial recovery and follow-up checkups. During the follow-up checkups, your surgeon may monitor your condition and remove any stitches.
How Long is the Recovery Time?
The recovery period may vary from one person to another, depending on the technique used and your general health. After laparoscopic surgery, you should be able to return to work and get back to most of your normal routine within 1 or 2 weeks following the surgery. After open surgery, you may want to wait around 6 to 8 weeks until you can go back to your normal routine, including exercises and heavy lifting.
What Aftercare Should You Consider?
After the surgery, your surgeon will give you a set of instructions regarding wound care, dietary restrictions, and exercises. You may need to schedule a follow-up appointment with your local doctor.
What is the Success Rate for a Choledochotomy Procedure?
Choledochotomy is generally safe and effective, with a success rate of around 95%. Although major complications rarely occur, the side effects and risks, an infection, damage to a bile duct, swelling, heart problems, bleeding, bile leakage, pneumonia, blood clots, as well as damage to the bowel, blood vessels, or the intestine.
Are there Alternatives to a Choledochotomy Procedure?
Depending on your specific condition, your surgeon may recommend cholecystectomy as the alternative to this procedure. In some cases, you may also undergo lithotripsy or sphincterotomy. Be sure to discuss with your surgeon the best option for you.
What Should You Expect Before and After the Procedure?
Before choledochotomy, you may have problems in your common bile duct that can cause symptoms such as abdominal pain, loss of appetite, clay-colored stools, nausea, vomiting, jaundice, and fever. After the surgery, all of these symptoms are relieved and you can enjoy your life like you used to.
For an in-depth analysis of a Choledochotomy Procedure, watch this short video.
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