Surgery for bile duct cancer
Bile duct cancers are classified based on whether or not they can be completely removed (resected). Depending on the size and location of your tumor, the cancer may be removed by surgery.
Surgery for resectable cancers
For resectable cancers, the type of operation depends on the location of the cancer. For intrahepatic bile duct cancers, your surgical oncology team will likely perform a partial hepatectomy (removal of part of the liver).
For perihilar and distal bile duct cancers, the surgery removes the bile duct and nearby lymph nodes along with a part of the liver, gall bladder, pancreas and/or small intestine, depending on your disease status.
Bile duct cancer surgery is a major operation and may have serious complications in some cases. Our pain team prepares for post-operative pain, while our nutrition team works closely with your oncologist to help manage any digestive changes, before and after surgery.
Surgery for unresectable cancers
For people with unresectable tumors that cannot be removed with surgery, your care team at Cancer Treatment Centers of America® (CTCA) will discuss a variety of innovative bile duct cancer treatment options, including radiation therapy, chemotherapy and ablative therapy.
In some cases, your doctor may consider surgery to help control or reduce symptoms caused by a bile duct tumor. A biliary stent or biliary catheter may be inserted into the bile duct to keep it open when the tumor is blocking the bile duct. Another option is a biliary bypass to allow bile to reach the small intestine and reduce symptoms, such as jaundice or itching, by connecting parts of the bile duct before and after the blockage.