Interventional Radiology

Biliary drainage and stent placement

Biliary drainage and stent placement procedures allow for drainage of an obstructed biliary system through a catheter placed through the skin into a bile duct within the liver. These procedures are frequently performed if you are suspected of having symptomatic obstructive jaundice, most often the result of a malignant process (such as pancreatic, biliary or liver cancer) or a benign process (such as gallstones, common bile duct stones or benign strictures).

A local anesthetic is injected and a needle is inserted through your skin into a bile duct within the liver using ultrasound or X-ray guidance. A small amount of dye is injected to verify proper placement and a series of guide wires and catheters are advanced through the area of obstruction to establish an internal or external drainage path.

In some circumstances of malignant disease, an internal metal stent may be placed in the area of obstruction as a form of permanent treatment. In certain benign processes, the drain tube may be temporarily left in place to drain internally or externally into a bag.

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