Biliary Tube Insertion and Exchange
WHAT IS A BILIARY DRAINAGE CATHETER?
A biliary catheter is a small flexible, rubber tube placed into the common bile duct, the passageway for the bile to flow from the gallbladder and liver to the duodenum (small intestine, also referred to as the bowel). The catheter can drain the bile either internally (inside your intestines) or externally (into a bag outside of your body). Bile is a thick fluid, usually golden yellow in color.
WHY DO I NEED A BILIARY DRAINAGE CATHETER?
1) You may have a blockage of the bile ducts, causing the bile to back up into your liver.
2) There may be a hole in the bile duct causing bile to leak.
3) To prepare for surgery or for some other procedure on your bile ducts, such as removal of a stone or tumor.
HOW SHOULD I PREPARE FOR THE PROCEDURE?
You will receive instructions from staff at the interventional radiologist's office at least a day before the procedure. Make sure to let the staff know if you have any allergies to medications or to contrast material which may be used during this procedure. If you are on any blood thinners such as Aspirin, Coumadin, Lovenox, Heparin, or Plavix please let the staff know. You may have blood drawn for pre-procedure testing at either the hospital or clinic. Staff will advise you if changes in your regular medication schedule are necessary. You will not be able to eat or drink anything for 6 hours prior to the procedure. Make sure someone will be available to drive you home afterwards.
WHAT HAPPENS DURING THE PROCEDURE?
You will be taken into our procedure room where you will be positioned on the x-ray table. You will be hooked up to a monitor so your blood pressure, heart rate and oxygen level can be watched closely. The area will be scrubbed with disinfectant and numbing medication will be injected into the skin to numb the area. A nurse will also be present to administer the pain and sedation (something to help you relax) medication. The radiologist will use x-rays to locate your liver. Next, a needle will be inserted through your skin into a bile duct, contrast dye injected, and the biliary tube will be advanced into the bile duct. You will feel some pressure and discomfort when the tube is inserted.
The biliary tube site will be covered with a dressing. The tube will be connected to a drainage bag. The bile will flow from your common bile duct through the biliary tube into the bag. The fluid may contain some blood at first. However, the blood usually clears over time.