Biliary Drainage and Stent Placement
Biliary obstruction – also called cholestasis – can cause excess bile to build up in the liver, and lead to symptoms such as jaundice, abdominal pain, dark urine, pale stool, nausea, and overall itchiness. Left untreated, a biliary obstruction can lead to chronic liver disease and life-threatening infections, such as sepsis.
The purpose of a biliary drainage and stent placement procedure is to relieve the obstruction by allowing an alternative method for excess bile to exit the liver. This helps prevent further damage to the liver and allows the bile ducts to heal, if necessary. The procedure may also be needed to prepare a patient for additional treatment – such as surgery to remove a bile duct stone or tumor.
What Is the Biliary System?
The biliary system includes internal organs (gallbladder, liver, pancreas) and the ducts (tubular passageways) that connect them. The ducts transport bile, which is produced in the liver, held in the gallbladder, and released into the small intestine when you consume foods containing fat. Bile is a digestive fluid that helps the body break down fat. Two ducts, called hepatic ducts, carry bile from the left and right sides of the liver. Bile flows from these ducts to the common hepatic duct, which connects to the cystic duct at the gallbladder. The duct that releases bile stored in the gallbladder into the small intestine is called the common bile duct.
Why Bile Duct Obstruction Occurs
Bile build-up in the liver – as the result of biliary obstruction – can occur due to many different health issues, including:
- Hepatitis (inflammation of the liver)
- Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)
- Sclerosing cholangitis (inflammation of the bile ducts)
- Cirrhosis (chronic liver damage that leads to liver failure)
- Bile duct damage, such as a tear that leaks bile into the abdominal cavity
The Procedure to Drain Bile from the Liver
At Florida Endovascular and Interventional in South Florida, we perform vital interventional treatments – including biliary drainage and stent placement procedures. We do so in our fully equipped, in-office surgery suites for the added comfort and convenience of our patients. There is no need to be hospitalized and patients benefit from avoiding all the risks and costs associated with a more invasive procedure or surgery.
What to Expect
On the day of your biliary drainage procedure in our office, you will be made comfortable and sedated once prepped for the procedure by our staff.
Using real-time imaging guidance, a doctor will insert a special biliary drain through the skin and into a bile duct in your liver. The biliary drain is a small, flexible tube with holes in the sides, which allow some, but not all, bile to exit the body directly from the liver. The other end of the biliary drain remains outside your body and is connected to a drainage bag at the abdomen.
When biliary drainage assistance is required for an extended period, a metal mesh cylinder (stent) may be placed at the site, which helps keep the bile duct open, without need of the biliary drain. A stent may be put in place in a separate procedure a few days after the biliary drainage procedure. It may remain in the body for a period of months, depending on a patient’s needs.
It is important to follow all aftercare instructions provided by your doctor. For example, the drainage bag may need to be emptied several times a day. You may also be advised to make up for the drained fluid by consuming an equal amount of Gatorade® or other electrolyte-laden drink.
Nonsurgical Treatment for Biliary Obstruction in South Florida
A biliary drainage procedure is a safe and effective minimally invasive procedure used to treat blockages within the biliary system. In some cases, a stent may be placed within the obstructed bile duct to help keep it open. These procedures can provide relief to symptomatic patients and help prevent further complications, including chronic liver disease and life-threatening infections.
At Florida Endovascular and Interventional, we perform these minimally invasive procedures in our South Florida offices, for added convenience and comfort. Call the main Florida Endovascular and Interventional office at (786) 534-2555 to find out more – or simply request an appointment now.