Approximately 700,000 Americans have their gallbladders surgically removed each year, with most of them being done by a minimally invasive procedure called a laparoscopic cholycystectomy or lap-choly. The procedure is performed by the use of small incisions and the insertion of a camera and small surgical instruments. Most commonly, the gallbladder is grasped with the operating tools and the surgeon dissects his way from the gallbladder towards a tube called the cystic duct. Once the cystic duct is identified, it is clipped with small surgical clips and the gallbladder is removed.
Bile, which is produced in the liver and concentrated in the gallbladder, helps in the digestion of fatty foods. Bile reaches the gallbladder though tube-like structures called ducts. Ducts leaving the liver meet to form the common bile duct (CBD), and the cystic duct connects the common bile duct to the gallbladder. Injury to the ducts leaving the liver or to the common bile duct during surgery are preventable injuries that can be catastrophic. Patient safety requires that avoiding bile duct injury should be the surgeon’s primary goal. Studies have shown that misidentification by the surgeon of the ductal structures is the most common reason for these injuries.
Despite being a golden rule that a surgeon must never clip or cut a structure unless he is absolutely sure of what the structure is, common bile ducts are misidentified as cystic ducts at an alarming rate. The New York gallbladder malpractice lawyers at Simonson Goodman Platzer PC have investigated and won many cases where the common bile duct was injured in this way.
When a surgeon encounters any difficulty identifying the ductal structures, it is easy to convert the procedure into an open one. This simply requires removing the laparoscopic instruments and then making a larger incision. The larger scar and longer recovery time pale in comparison to the adverse effects of bile duct injury and should never prevent the surgeon from converting to open. Despite the fact that open surgery gives the surgeon a good look at the common bile duct, surgeons who perform open surgeries as a matter of choice still cut or damage this structure.
Even though laparoscopic cholecystectomy is a minimally invasive surgery, all surgeries involve risk. Surgical injury to the bile duct, duodenum or small intestine may occur and may require a second surgical procedure to repair it. A bile duct injury can result in difficult reconstruction, a longer hospital stay, and a very high risk of complications in many cases leading to death.
Other common Gallbladder Surgery complications include:
Another problem is that the majority of injuries are not recognized at the time of surgery and repair is delayed. If a cholecystectomy is difficult, it is prudent for the surgeon to get an intraoperative consultation from an experienced surgeon, both to avoid the injury or to recognize that it has occurred.
The treatment of these injuries is complex, requiring a team of experienced surgeons and clinicians, and there should be no hesitation in transferring a patient to a tertiary care center when a ductal injury is suspected.
If you have been injured during gallbladder surgery, make sure you contact the highly experienced Gallbladder Surgery Malpractice Lawyers at Simonson Goodman Platzer PC. We have decades of experience helping people like you recover damages for medical malpractice injuries.
Call 1-800-405-7783 today to schedule your free consultation with an experienced New York Gallbladder Surgery Attorney.