Common bile duct stones which are also known as choledocholithiasis is the presence of gall-stones in your common bile duct (CBD). Bile duct stones can form anywhere in your biliary tract and migrate into the bile duct or develop in the within the common bile duct. The bile duct is the small tube that transports bile juice from the gallbladder to the intestine.
These stones get stuck in the bile duct, causing a blockage. Bile duct stones are composed of the common components(cholesterol or bile salts) of bile that might have hardened into stone. When they stuck in your bile duct, treatment is essential to prevent inflammation, bacterial infection, and severe organ damage.
What Are The Causes Bile Duct Stones?
Bile duct stones or gallstones are of two types – cholesterol gallstones and pigment gallstones.
Cholesterol gallstones look yellowish and they are the common type of gallstones. Experts believe that these stones are caused due to bile that contains too much cholesterol & bilirubin and insufficient bile salts. They may also happen when the gallbladder doesn’t empty fully.
The exact cause of pigment stones is yet to find and they seem to appear in people who have diseases like liver cirrhosis, biliary tract infections and
hereditary blood disorders where the liver makes excess bilirubin.
Symptoms Of Bile Duct Stones
Often bile duct stones don’t show any symptoms until they cause a blockage in the bile duct. The symptoms include:
- Severe abdominal pain
- Nausea and vomiting
- Loss of appetite
- clay-coloured stools
- Dark, tea-coloured urine
Treatment For Bile Duct Stones Removal
Treatment of bile duct stones or gallstones involves the removal of stones through various procedures. Out of all Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) and laparoscopic CBD stone removal are the most common procedures performed to eliminate stones.
ERCP is used for both diagnosing and treating bile ducts stones. It can also be used to diagnose problems related to the pancreas, bile ducts, liver, and gallbladder. An ERCP is a procedure that involves the removal of bile duct stones using an endoscope. It is a flexible tube with a light head about the thickness of a pen. The doctor moves the tube through your mouth and then into your stomach to look for stones blocking the bile ducts.
Laparoscopic management of CBD stones is as safe as an endoscopic procedure. The aim of laparoscopic surgery is to remove the stones stuck in the common bile duct. The procedure involves making a small incision and passing laparoscope with a camera at the top into the duct to visualise the stones before removing them. By inserting other surgical instruments the stones are removed successfully.