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Endoscopic Biliary Stenting
WHAT YOU SHOULD KNOW:
- Endoscopic biliary stenting is a procedure done to open your blocked bile duct (tube). During the procedure, a stent is placed into your blocked bile duct. A stent is a small plastic or metal tube that is used to keep your bile duct open. Bile (fluid from your liver) helps you digest fat and other foods that you eat. Bile is stored in your gallbladder, which is located under your liver. Bile passes through your bile duct and is released into your intestines (bowels) when you eat.
- The flow of bile may be blocked by tumors (cancers), gallstones, or strictures (narrowings) of your bile duct. Gallstones are hard objects that form in your gallbladder. Stents help widen the narrowed area of your bile duct and allow the bile to flow through. Your caregiver will use an endoscope to put the stent inside your blocked bile duct. An endoscope is a long bendable tube with a light and camera at the end. Biliary stent placement may decrease your symptoms such as jaundice (yellowing of skin and the whites of eyes). Endoscopic biliary stenting may also resolve itching, abdominal (stomach) and back pain, and improve your liver function.
Take your medicine as directed:
Call your primary healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him if you are allergic to any medicine. Keep a list of the medicines, vitamins, and herbs you take. Include the amounts, and when and why you take them. Bring the list or the pill bottles to follow-up visits. Carry your medicine list with you in case of an emergency.
- Antibiotics: This medicine is given to fight or prevent an infection caused by bacteria. Always take your antibiotics exactly as ordered by your primary healthcare provider. Do not stop taking your medicine unless directed by your primary healthcare provider. Never save antibiotics or take leftover antibiotics that were given to you for another illness.
- Pain medicine: You may need medicine to take away or decrease pain.
- Learn how to take your medicine. Ask what medicine and how much you should take. Be sure you know how, when, and how often to take it.
- Do not wait until the pain is severe before you take your medicine. Tell caregivers if your pain does not decrease.
- Pain medicine can make you dizzy or sleepy. Prevent falls by calling someone when you get out of bed or if you need help.
Ask your caregiver when to return for a follow up visit:
- You will need to return for a follow-up physical exam with your caregiver. You may need to have blood tests and give samples of your stool and urine for testing. An abdominal x-ray, computerized tomography (CT) scan, magnetic resonance imaging (MRI), or an ultrasound may also be done. The tests may be done to show if your stent has moved out of place. You may also need a follow-up endoscopy if you have cancer, to check for recurrence. If a plastic stent was used, it may need to be replaced every 3 to 4 months. Metal stents normally last twice as long as plastic stents.
- You may also need to have an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) one month after your procedure. An ERCP may be used to remove or reposition your stent, and check for gallstones or bile leaks. Ask your caregiver for more information about ERCP. Keep all appointments. Write down any questions you may have. This way you will remember to ask these questions during your next visit.
CONTACT A CAREGIVER IF:
- You have itchy skin.
- You have yellowing of your skin and the whites of your eyes.
- You have questions about your procedure, condition, or care.
SEEK CARE IMMEDIATELY IF:
- Your bowel movements (BMs) are black and tarry.
- You are vomiting (throwing up) blood.
- You have shaking chills and a fever (100.4 degrees Fahrenheit or 38 degrees Celsius).
- You have bad pain in the right upper area of your abdomen.
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The above information is an educational aid only. It is not intended as medical advice for individual conditions or treatments. Talk to your doctor, nurse or pharmacist before following any medical regimen to see if it is safe and effective for you.
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