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Bile duct stones

Choledocholithiasis

Bile duct stones (choledocholithiasis) are gallstones that can sometimes block the common bile duct

About

Bile helps your body digest fat. Your bile duct takes bile from your gallbladder to your intestine. Sometimes, small stones of cholesterol can form inside the gallbladder and then get stuck in your bile duct. This condition is known as choledocholithiasis (bile duct stones).

Need to know

  • Symptoms of bile duct stones icon plus

    Usually, bile duct stones pass on their own. If they get stuck, they can cause the following symptoms:
    • severe abdominal pain (known as biliary colic)
    • jaundice (yellowing of the eyes and skin)
    • fever (high temperature)
    • pale-coloured faeces
    • nausea and vomiting
  • Diagnosis icon plus

    Your HCA UK or Hepato-Pancreato-Biliary (HPB) consultant will start by discussing your symptoms with you. They may recommend a renal ultrasound. Carried out by one of our specialist radiology consultants, a renal ultrasound uses sound waves to create images of your liver, gallbladder and bile duct. It's the most effective way of detecting gallstones and bile duct stones.
  • Potential treatment options icon plus

    Normally, bile duct stones only require treatment if they're causing symptoms like severe abdominal pain or jaundice. If you need treatment, your options might include:

    • sphincterotomy (surgery to cut into the bile duct to remove the stones or make it easier for them to pass)
    • cholecystectomy (surgery to remove your gallbladder and stones)
    • lithotripsy (laser treatment to break up the stones)
Consultant in theatres

Our consultants

We're proud to work with leading experts across a range of medical fields, whose skills are matched by their integrity and compassion.

Our facilities

From complex surgery to straightforward procedures, we provide exceptional care across our network of hospitals, outpatient centres and specialist clinics.

  • facility-pgh-hero-579x579

    The Princess Grace Hospital

    42-52 Nottingham Place

    London W1U 5NY

    Appointments 020 3131 7216
    Enquiries 020 3130 6833

  • Wellington-south-hero-facility-582-582

    The Wellington Hospital

    Wellington Place

    London NW8 9LE

    Appointments 0207 483 5148
    Enquiries 020 3131 7478

  • London Bridge Hospital Facility

    London Bridge Hospital

    27 Tooley Street

    London

    SE1 2PR

    Appointments and Enquiries 020 7234 2009
    Imaging Appointments 020 7234 2773
    Switchboard 020 7407 3100

  • The Lister Hospital Facility

    The Lister Hospital

    Chelsea Bridge Road

    London

    SW1W 8RH

    Appointments 020 7811 4000
    Enquiries 020 3131 4978

  • Male-receptionist-greets-male-visitor

    London Digestive Centre

    41 Welbeck Street

    London

    W1G 8DU

    Call 020 3813 9497
    Opening hours Monday - Friday: 8am - 8pm

Request an appointment

We're happy to help you make an appointment with one of our experienced consultants.

This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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