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Hepatobiliary (HPB) Surgery

What is hepatobiliary surgery?

Hepatobiliary surgery is used as surgical treatment for benign as well as malignant diseases of the liver, pancreas, gallbladder and bile ducts. Dr. Noorbhai does this surgery using minimally invasive surgical techniques as well as traditional open surgery when required.

How is a hepatobiliary surgery done?

Once under general anaesthesia, a laparoscope, which is a narrow tube with a camera, will be inserted through a small incision in the lower abdomen allowing your surgeon to view the internal organs on a screen. Through other thin tubes, narrow tools are inserted to delicately remove primary and/or secondary tumours, blockages or cysts in the liver, pancreas, gallbladder or bile duct. Depending on the reason for this surgery, reconstruction of complex structures and arteries may be necessary. Hepatobiliary surgery is done with the assistance of a multidisciplinary team of surgeons as cases are usually complicated and require other specialists such as transplant surgeons, medical oncologists, interventional radiologists, radiation oncologists and gastroenterologists.

Laparoscopic Bile Duct Exploration (LBDE) may also be required to clear the biliary system of debris, stones, strictures, etc. Biopsies are also facilitated. Based on your presenting condition, Dr. Noorbhai may decide to perform a transcystic or direct common bile duct exploration.

Why would a hepatobiliary surgery be done?

A hepatobiliary surgery is done to either remove malignant or benign tumours, to remove cysts and polyps or in order to fix blockages and obstructions in the liver, pancreas, gallbladder or bile duct. Depending on whether or not the tumour or growth is malignant or benign, further treatment may be needed by an oncologist.

How long will I be in hospital?

Most patients are able to go home on the same day as surgery. How soon you will be discharged from hospital depends on why hepatobiliary surgery was done and whether or not the tumour or growth was malignant or not. 

What will happen after surgery?

Following a hepatobiliary surgery you may experience the following:

  • Pain in your abdomen.
  • Constipation, diarrhoea or gas
  • Pain when coughing, sneezing or laughing.
  • Red skin around your wounds.

All these symptoms are normal and are nothing to be concerned about. You will be instructed how to look after your incisions. Re-consult if you have an unusually high temperature, chills, vomiting, swelling around the incisions, bleeding, you are experiencing excessive pain or cramping of the stomach muscles as emergency care may be needed. Approximately 3 weeks after your operation you will be seen by your surgeon to check your wounds.

How soon after the surgery can I resume normal activities?

You will be able to resume normal activities soon after your surgery; however, it is important to start slowly. If you experience pain during a certain activities, stop that activity. You may not do any heavy lifting or vigorous physical activity for at least 4 weeks after your laparoscopic procedure. You may return to physical exercise only once you have been to your follow-up consult, 3 weeks after surgery. It may take up to 6 weeks for a full recovery.

What are the potential risks and complications of hepatobiliary surgery?

The risk of complications during laparoscopic surgery is very low, while open surgery may have more risks and complications involved. The following complications may occur with hepatobiliary surgery:

  • Infection of the wound or internal infection.
  • Bleeding.
  • A painful scar.
  • Damage to the adjacent organs such as intestine, bladder, reproductive organs and nerves.
  • Deep vein thrombosis (DVT) or blood clots.
  • Risks from general anaesthetic.
endoscopic and-laparoscopic surgery
endoscopic and-laparoscopic procedures

Suite 609 6th Floor Netcare Umhlanga Medical Centre, 321 Umhlanga Rocks Drive, Umhlanga Rocks, 4319, Durban


Mon to Fri: 08:00 to 16:00
Sat / Sun: Closed.