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Percutaneous Transhepatic Biliary Drainage


What do I need to know about percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage?

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


How do I prepare for a PTBD?

Your healthcare provider will talk to you about how to prepare for the procedure. He may tell you not to eat or drink anything after midnight on the day of your procedure. He will tell you what medicines you may or may not take on the day of your procedure.

What will happen during a PTBD?

  • You will be given local, spinal, or general anesthesia before your procedure. If general anesthesia is used, you will be asleep during the procedure. A CT scan or fluoroscopy may be used during the procedure. Your healthcare provider will put a needle through the right side of your abdomen and into your liver. A wire will be pushed through the needle and into your liver.
  • Your healthcare provider will use the wire to break up the stones that block your bile duct. Your healthcare provider will put a tube over the needle and then remove the needle and wire. The tube will be left in place. A small part of the tube will come through your skin to the outside of your body. If the tube is capped, bile will drain into your intestines. If the tube is left open, bile will drain into a bag that is attached to the end of the tube outside of your body.

What are the risks of a PTBD?

Your gallbladder, bile duct, or blood vessels may be damaged. You may bleed more than expected. After the procedure, you may have swelling or bleeding around the tube. The skin around the tube may get infected. The tube may move out of place or get blocked. Your gallbladder may become swollen or infected. You could get a blood clot in your liver. You could get a lung infection. Your lungs could fill with blood or air, making it hard for you to breathe.

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 healthcare providers to decide what care you want to receive. You always have the right to refuse treatment. 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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Further information

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