Bile Duct Obstruction

What is Bile Duct Obstruction?

The bile duct carries digestive fluid from liver, gallbladder and pancreas into duodenum to digest food. It also helps the liver to clear waste products through the intestine. Obstruction of any of the biliary tract is known as bile duct obstruction. This can happen within the bile duct in the liver or outside the liver where the bile duct connects to the intestine at the level of gallbladder, common biliary tree and pancreas.

  • Sudden onset of abdominal pain
  • Back pain
  • Shoulder pain
  • Nausea and vomiting
  • Jaundice and dark urine
  • Fever

Bile duct obstruction are commonly due to

  • Gallstone
  • Inflammation of bile duct
  • Trauma
  • Biliary stricture or abnormal narrowing of bile duct
  • Liver cancer or tumour
  • Pancreatic tumour or cancer
  • Bile duct tumour or cancer
  • Choledochal cyst
  • Severe liver inflammation
  • Injury to biliary duct from surgery

Doctors can suggest steps for you to take to lower your risk of bile duct obstruction by making healthy lifestyle choices such as:

  • Lowering the fat in your dietary intake
  • Eating more fruits and vegetables
  • Reduce and stop smoking
  • Regular exercise and avoiding too much weight gain
  • Limit alcohol use
  • Blood Tests
  • Ultrasound
  • Computerised Tomography (CT) Scan
  • Magnetic Resonance Imaging (MRI)
  • Endoscopic Ultrasound

Bile Duct Obstruction is a serious medical condition warranting further investigation even if patients do not have symptoms. The treatment is based on the underlying cause.

  • Endoscopic ultrasound and Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) – is an endoscopic therapeutic procedure used to visualise and treat conditions involving the bile and pancreatic ducts.The scope also use to take biopsy from tumour to get definitive diagnosis. 
  • Endoscopic stents can be inserted through an endoscope into the bile ducts to relieve obstruction by gallstones or obstructing tumour.
  • Percutaneous stents are an alternative that can also be inserted through the skin by a radiologist to relieve obstruction by gallstones.
  • Cholecystectomy – This involves surgery to remove the gallbladder if the cause of obstruction is due to gallstone disease.