A biloma or biliary cyst is a collection of bile inside the abdomen that has become encapsulated with epithelial cells. There are a number of situations that can contribute to the formation of this type of cyst, and there are several treatment options available, depending on its location, size, and severity. Symptoms associated with a biliary cyst can vary, with some patients experiencing issues like abdominal pain and tenderness or symptoms such as fever and confusion, if the cyst becomes infected.
Bile, a fluid produced in the liver, plays a role in the digestive process. Two common reasons for a biloma to form include damage to the liver and problems with the bile duct. These deposits can also form after gall bladder removal. The cyst can be identified with the use of ultrasound imaging of the abdomen, in which the deposit of bile will clearly show up in the image. Imaging can be used to determine whether or not action needs to be taken.
In some cases, the problem will resolve on its own, with the body gradually reabsorbing the contents. In other instances, the cyst may require drainage, especially if it is big and the body cannot clear it on its own, or when it becomes infected. If infection occurs, drainage will be accompanied by flushing to make sure that all of the infected material has been cleared. A drain may also be left in, depending on the circumstances, so that it can drain while it heals.
If it becomes necessary to drain a biloma, the use of antibiotics to prevent or deal with infection may be recommended. These drugs can address the growth of microorganisms that may take advantage of the problem to gain a foothold in the body. Anti-inflammatory drugs can also be prescribed to address inflammation and swelling that may cause discomfort for the patient. The patient may also be advised to rest while the biliary cyst heals.
People who are at risk for bilomas include those with liver damage or people who have had a cholecystectomy procedure. These patients are usually monitored for signs of complications, including cysts, which allow healthcare professionals to catch the complications early before they develop into a serious medical problem. This is one important reason to make and keep follow up appointments, as medical issues may not generate symptoms in their early stages, so a patient may feel healthy, but be in need of treatment.