If your liver disease Depending on the underlying cause, the doctor may initially prescribe pain medications and antibiotics to treat infections, especially if the cause is related to gallstone disease. Diagnostic imaging and blood tests will usually be able to distinguish the various causes of jaundice. Definitive treatment will depend on the cause of the jaundice.
If gallstones are diagnosed, laparoscopic cholecystectomy or keyhole surgery is recommended for the removal of gallstones. Endoscopic removal of stones obstructing the bile duct is sometimes necessary prior to laparoscopic surgery to fully clear all the stones. Endoscopic stenting is also sometimes necessary as a temporary measure to relieve the bile duct obstruction and clear any bacterial infection before definitive surgery.
If the root cause of obstructive jaundice is a malignant tumour, the long-term outcome of such patients is best served if the tumour can be surgically removed.
Such surgery is a major undertaking and patients are best served when managed by hepatobiliary pancreatic surgeons (surgeons specialising in liver, pancreas and biliary problems). The outcomes of major pancreatic, biliary and liver surgeries are much improved when performed in a highvolume dedicated surgical centre.
Unfortunately, the majority of patients with malignant tumours may not be suitable for surgery, hence, chemotherapy and/or radiotherapy will be the next best option. For such patients, obstructive jaundice can be relieved by inserting a stent by endoscopic guidance or radiologic guidance, once the diagnosis of cancer is established.
If obstructive jaundice is left untreated, there is a high risk of infection when bilirubin overflows into the bloodstream. In addition, it is vital to distinguish the various causes of obstructive jaundice. Painful jaundice is usually associated with gallstone disease. Painless jaundice associated with tumours can lead to delayed treatment as patients generally feel okay.
To prevent jaundice resulting from gallstone disease, eat a healthy, balanced diet and reduce your intake of fatty foods and alcohol.
Subscribe to our mailing list to get the updates to your inbox