Clinic For Digestive Surgery

Hepatobiliary Surgery

Hepatobiliary Surgery

What is Hepatobiliary Surgery?

Hepatobiliary surgery refers to surgical procedures performed on the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, and pancreas. These organs are collectively known as the hepatobiliary system. Surgery in this area is typically performed to treat a variety of conditions ranging from benign disorders to serious diseases such as cancer.

Conditions Treated by Hepatobiliary Surgery

Hepatobiliary surgery can address several conditions, including:

Liver Tumours

These include both benign tumours like hemangiomas and malignant tumours such as hepatocellular carcinoma (liver cancer).

Gallbladder Disease

Conditions such as gallstones, cholecystitis (inflammation of the gallbladder), and gallbladder cancer.

Bile Duct Disorders

Including bile duct stones, strictures (narrowing), and cholangiocarcinoma (bile duct cancer).

Pancreatic Disorders

Including pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas) and pancreatic cancer.

Liver Cirrhosis

Severe scarring of the liver tissue, often due to chronic liver disease or hepatitis.

Types of Hepatobiliary Surgery

There are several types of hepatobiliary surgeries, each tailored to treat specific conditions. Some of the common procedures include:


The surgical removal of part or all of the liver, often performed to treat liver cancer or severe liver damage.


The removal of the gallbladder, commonly performed to treat gallstones or gallbladder inflammation. This can be done through open surgery or minimally invasive laparoscopic surgery.

Bile Duct Surgery

Procedures to remove blockages or tumors in the bile ducts, or to create new pathways for bile flow if the ducts are damaged or obstructed.

Pancreatic Surgery

This includes procedures like the Whipple procedure (pancreaticoduodenectomy), used to treat pancreatic cancer, and distal pancreatectomy, where the tail of the pancreas is removed.

Liver Transplant

Replacing a diseased liver with a healthy one from a donor, typically used to treat end-stage liver disease or acute liver failure.

Preparing for Hepatobiliary Surgery

Preparation is crucial for a successful surgical outcome. Here’s what you can expect:

Pre-Surgical Evaluations

Your doctor will conduct a thorough medical evaluation, including physical exams, blood tests, imaging studies (such as CT scans, MRIs, or ultrasounds), and possibly endoscopic procedures to assess your condition and determine the best surgical approach.


You may be instructed to stop certain medications before surgery, especially blood thinners, to reduce the risk of bleeding.


You will need to fast for a specified period before surgery, usually starting the night before, to ensure your stomach is empty.

Lifestyle Adjustments

Quitting smoking and reducing alcohol intake can improve your recovery outcomes. Your doctor may provide specific guidelines based on your condition and the type of surgery.

What to Expect During Surgery

Hepatobiliary surgeries can be complex and vary greatly depending on the specific procedure and condition being treated. Here are some general points to understand:


You will receive general anaesthesia, ensuring you are asleep and pain-free throughout the procedure.

Surgical Procedure

The duration and complexity of the surgery will vary based on the type of surgery being performed. Minimally invasive surgeries, such as laparoscopic cholecystectomy, typically have shorter recovery times and less postoperative pain compared to open surgeries.


Throughout the surgery, your vital signs will be closely monitored to ensure your safety.

Recovery After Hepatobiliary Surgery

Recovery times and post-surgical care will vary based on the type of surgery and individual factors. Here’s what to expect:
  • You may need to stay in the hospital for a few days to several weeks, depending on the surgery and your recovery progress. During this time, your medical team will monitor your vital signs, manage pain, and watch for any complications.
  • Initially, you will be on a liquid diet, gradually transitioning to soft foods as your digestive system heals. Your doctor or a dietitian will provide specific dietary guidelines to follow.
  • Light activity and walking are encouraged to promote circulation and prevent blood clots. However, you should avoid strenuous activities and heavy lifting for several weeks.
  • Regular follow-up appointments are essential to monitor your recovery, address any concerns, and adjust medications if needed.

What to Expect During Surgery

Proper care at home is crucial for a smooth recovery:
  • Keep surgical wounds clean and dry. Follow your doctor’s instructions on how to care for your incisions and watch for signs of infection, such as redness, swelling, or discharge.
  • Take prescribed pain medications as directed. Over-the-counter pain relievers may also be recommended for managing mild discomfort.
  • Follow your doctor’s dietary recommendations. Eating small, frequent meals can help ease digestion and prevent discomfort.
  • Stay well-hydrated by drinking plenty of fluids, unless otherwise advised by your doctor.
  • Ensure you get plenty of rest to help your body heal. Listen to your body and avoid overexertion.

Potential Complications

While hepatobiliary surgery can be highly effective, it does carry risks, as with any major surgery. Potential complications include:


Surgical site infections or internal infections can occur, requiring antibiotics or additional treatment.


Excessive bleeding during or after surgery may necessitate blood transfusions or further surgery.

Organ Dysfunction

Liver or pancreatic dysfunction can result from the surgery, especially in complex cases.

Blood Clots

Liver or pancreatic dysfunction can result from the surgery, especially in complex cases.
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