In people who are healthy enough, another option for relieving a blocked bile duct is surgery to reroute the flow of bile from the common bile duct directly into the small intestine, bypassing the pancreas.
Having a stent placed is often easier and the recovery is much shorter, which is why this is done more often than bypass surgery. But surgery can have some advantages, such as:
- It can often give longer-lasting relief than a stent, which might need to be cleaned out or replaced.
- It might be an option if a stent can’t be placed for some reason.
- During surgery, the surgeon may be able to cut some of the nerves around the pancreas or inject them with alcohol. Because pancreatic cancer often causes pain if it reaches these nerves, this procedure may reduce or get rid of any pain caused by cancer.
Bypass surgery can still be a major operation, so it’s important that you are healthy enough to tolerate it and that you talk with your doctor about the possible benefits and risks before you have the surgery.
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