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Percutaneous Transhepatic Biliary Drainage


Percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage (PTBD) is done to open a blocked bile duct.




  • Medicines can help decrease pain or prevent a bacterial infection. Ask your healthcare provider how to take prescription pain medicine safely.
  • Take your medicine as directed. Contact your healthcare provider if you think your medicine is not helping or if you have side effects. Tell him or her 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.

Follow up with your healthcare provider as directed:

You may need to return so your healthcare provider can check your tube. You may also need more tests. Write down your questions so you remember to ask them during your visits.

PTBD tube care:

Ask your healthcare provider how to care for your tube and the skin around it. If you have a bag attached to the PTBD tube, you will need to check for bile in the bag. Ask how much bile should be in the bag and what color it should be. You will need to make sure the PTBD tube is not blocked. Ask your healthcare provider how and when to flush the inside of the tube.

Contact your healthcare provider if:

  • Your skin or the whites of your eyes look more yellow than usual.
  • You have a fever.
  • You have nausea, or you are vomiting.
  • Your bowel movements have changed color and are very light or dark.
  • Your skin around your tube itches or is red, swollen, or painful.
  • You have questions or concerns about your condition or care.

Seek care immediately or call 911 if:

  • You have a drainage bag, and there is little or no fluid draining into the bag.
  • You are coughing or vomiting blood.
  • You are dizzy, or you feel too weak to stand up.
  • You have new trouble breathing.
  • Your abdomen is hard, swollen, or painful.
  • Your tube falls out.
  • Your stools look red, or you see blood in the toilet.

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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.

Further information

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

Learn more about Percutaneous Transhepatic Biliary Drainage (Discharge Care)

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