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Endoscopic Biliary Stenting


Endoscopic biliary stenting is procedure to open a blocked bile duct. A stent is a small cylinder-shaped tube that widens your bile duct and keeps it open. Your body stores bile in your gall bladder. Bile passes through your bile duct and is released into your intestines when you eat.


Before your procedure:

  • Arrange to have someone drive you home from the hospital. Do not drive yourself home.
  • Ask your caregiver if you need to stop using aspirin or any other prescribed or over-the-counter medicine before your procedure or surgery.
  • Bring your medicine bottles or a list of your medicines when you see your caregiver. Tell your caregiver if you are allergic to any medicine. Tell your caregiver if you use any herbs, food supplements, or over-the-counter medicine.
  • During your procedure, you may receive contrast dye to help healthcare providers see your bile duct on x-rays. Tell your healthcare provider if you have ever had an allergic reaction to contrast dye.
  • You may need to have a CT scan, MRI, or an ultrasound. You may also need blood tests to check your liver and other body functions. Ask your healthcare provider for more information about these and other tests you may need. Write down the date, time, and location of each test.
  • Write down the correct date, time, and location of your procedure.

The day of your procedure:

  • You or a close family member will be asked to sign a legal document called a consent form. It gives caregivers permission to do the procedure or surgery. It also explains the problems that may happen, and your choices. Make sure all your questions are answered before you sign this form.
  • Caregivers may insert an intravenous tube (IV) into your vein. A vein in the arm is usually chosen. Through the IV tube, you may be given liquids and medicine.
  • Antibiotics: You may get this medicine to help prevent an infection caused by bacteria.
  • An anesthesiologist will talk to you before your surgery. You may need medicine to keep you asleep or numb an area of your body during surgery. Tell caregivers if you or anyone in your family has had a problem with anesthesia in the past.


What will happen:

  • You will be placed on your side for this procedure. You will get anesthesia medicine to help you relax and make you drowsy. Your throat may also be numbed with anesthesia medicine. You may still feel pressure or pushing during the procedure, but you should not feel pain. An endoscope will be put into your mouth and down your throat. The scope will be slowly moved down into your stomach and small intestine until it reaches your bile duct. A camera at the end of the endoscope will let your healthcare provider see the inside of your stomach and intestines.
  • Your healthcare provider will use fluoroscopy (a type of x-ray) and a contrast dye to see your bile duct more clearly. The dye will also help your healthcare provider see if you have gallstones, tumors, or narrowing of your bile duct. Fluoroscopy will also help your healthcare provider place your stent. A thin wire will be put through the scope and deep in your bile duct. Your healthcare provider will slide the stent over the wire to the area of your blockage. Once the stent is in place, the wire and endoscope will be removed. An x-ray of your abdomen may be taken to check the position of the stent.

After your procedure:

You will be taken to a room where you will rest until you are fully awake. Do not get out of bed until your healthcare provider says it is okay. When your healthcare provider sees that you are okay, you will be able to go home. If you are staying in the hospital, you will be taken back to your room.


  • You cannot make it to your procedure.
  • You have nausea or are vomiting.
  • You have very light colored bowel movements.
  • You have back pain.
  • You have yellow, itchy skin.
  • You have yellowing of the whites of your eyes.

Seek Care Immediately if

  • You are losing weight without trying.
  • You have a fever or chills.
  • You have severe pain in the upper right area of your abdomen.
  • Your abdomen is hard and swollen.


  • The endoscope or wire used may tear your stomach or bowel wall and cause bleeding. The stent may become clogged or blocked by a growing tumor, thickened bile, or gallstones. The stent may also loosen and move out of place, causing a blockage. The stent may also cause swelling of other organs, such as your pancreas and gallbladder. If your bile duct is damaged, it may leak bile fluid into your abdomen and increase your risk for a life-threatening infection.
  • Even with stent placement, you may have further narrowing of your bile duct. Without biliary stenting, your condition may get worse. Your symptoms, such as jaundice and itchy skin, may become severe. Your liver may become damaged from the blockage and not function correctly. Your gallbladder may rupture if you have gallstones or pressure from too much bile. This may increase your risk for a serious, life-threatening infection.

Care Agreement

You have the right to help plan your care. Learn about your health condition and how it may be treated. Discuss treatment options with your caregivers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment.

Further information

Always consult your healthcare provider to ensure the information displayed on this page applies to your personal circumstances.