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2499 pages added, reviewed or updated during the last month (last updated: 19/4/2021)


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biliary peritonitis

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Biliary peritonitis may occur as a complication of biliary surgery, e.g. spillage of infected gall bladder contents during a laparoscopic cholecystectomy. Detection of the leak may be through evidence of bile emerging from the drain within the first 24 hours postoperatively.

If the bile is not infected then a chemical peritonitis develops. Infected bile may cause generalised peritonitis and carries a high risk of mortality. Alternatively, infected bile may produce a subphrenic abscess.

Bile has a detergent action and therefore may leak through suture lines. This necessitates the placement of a drain for two to five days.

Small leakages of bile generally settle spontaneously. If generalised toxicity develops then this may necessitate re-exploration under IV antibiotic cover.

Last reviewed 01/2018

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