Patients who have gallbladder surgery may sustain injury to their bile duct. Experts estimate that up to 1 percent of gallbladder surgeries results in a bile duct injury and then a bile duct stricture.
Bile duct strictures are the result of scars that narrow the bile duct. Narrowed bile ducts do not allow the bile to drain into the intestine. As a result, the bile will erupt from the liver and into the bloodstream and cause obstructive jaundice. People who have a bile duct injury as a result of a gallbladder surgery may begin experiencing symptoms shortly after the procedure. In some cases, it can take many weeks or months after the injury was sustained before symptoms are present.
The early onset of symptoms related to a bile duct injury tend to occur when the bile overflows into the abdominal cavity. Typical symptoms may include jaundice, vomiting, constant pain, nausea, fever or discomfort. People with delayed symptoms tend to have scars from the bile duct injury that narrows the bile duct, preventing the flow of bile. In these cases, the most typical symptom is jaundice.
Gallbladder surgery is generally an easy procedure from which to recover. Patients who do not show signs of improvement should be carefully examined by a physician for indications of bile duct injury.
Individuals who undergo a gallbladder surgery during which their bile duct was injured in some manner may suffer a worsened medical condition, requiring additional care and treatment. People who have been harmed in such a manner can meet with a medical malpractice attorney in order to determine their legal options with regard to filing a medical malpractice claim seeking damages.