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Cholecystectomy – Risk of Injury to the Common Bile Duct

Cholecystectomy and the Risk of Injury to the Common Bile Duct

During laparoscopic gallbladder removal surgery, or cholecytectomy, there can be times when the surgeon mistakes the common bile duct for the cystic duct.  If the surgeon does not recognize this error before clipping or dissecting, this may produce a serious injury as a result of causing inappropriate damage or insult to the common bile duct. The cystic duct branches off from the common bile duct.  The identity of these structures can sometimes be difficult to ascertain laparoscopically.

It is the surgeon’s duty to correctly identify these structures, or, if there is any doubt, to convert the procedure to an open procedure where there can be better visualization of the anatomy and where the surgeon can actually touch and palpate the structures to differentiate the vital structures from the non-vital ones, for the safety of the patient.

Injury to the common bile duct can produce serious life-long consequences to the patient and must be avoided by the surgeon.   This injury may result in bile duct strictures (a narrowing of the duct).  This injury may also cause serious medical consequences including infection, bile leakage, pancreatitis, jaundice, liver damage, and even death.

Patients are sometimes forced to undergo multiple sent procedures in an attempt to widen the bile.  These procedures are not always effective, and the patient may be required to undergo an attempted surgical repair of the common bile duct by a biliary tract surgeon.

The attempt to repair an injury to the common bile duct is a challenge for even the most skilled biliary tract surgeon.

Medical Malpractice Lawyer

If you believe that a surgeon make a mistake that caused an injury to the common bile duct, it is important to speak with a New York medical malpractice lawyer as soon as possible. An immediate investigation into the circumstances surrounding your incident must be conducted. In addition, there are time sensitive filing requirements that must be met in order to preserve your claim.

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