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Billiary Drain: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dWyHMmNQABQ

The subject of this short video is the Percutaneous Transhepatic Biliary Drain.

The tube and the medical procedure to implant it go by a number of names and acronyms. For simplicity, we’re going to call it a biliary drain.

So what is a biliary drain and why would you need one?

A normally functioning digestive system is responsible for breaking down and absorbing nutrients into your bloodstream. Your liver produces bile salts that break down the fats entering your small intestine. When your bile ducts have blockages from cancer, the bile salts begin to build up in your liver and blood.

You may experience pain and fever, and symptoms of jaundice: yellowing of the eyes and skin,dark urine and pale stools. Fluids may accumulate in your abdomen. This is a very serious condition, and if the blockage is not corrected, it can lead to a life threatening infection, or even liver failure.

One way to remove the bile or other secretions from your body is to insert a biliary drainage tube. An Interventional Radiologist will perform the procedure using local anaesthetic.

Guided by x-ray or ultrasound, the radiologist inserts a needle through the liver, directly into your bile duct. A guide wire placed through the needle will help to direct and position the drainage tube to the desired location.

When the procedure is complete, the tube will allow bile to drain externally to a bile bag. If good internal drainage can be achieved to your small intestine, a bile bag may not be necessary. In this case, a low profile device can be applied to the external end, making the tube comfortable and discreet. If the biliary drainage tube is successful and the obstruction is relieved, your liver function will improve and you will feel better. Your oncologist will be able to inform you if you have improved enough to proceed with further treatments such as chemotherapy, radiation, and occasionally, surgery.

This type of drainage tube can also be very helpful in relieving obstruction arising from cancers of the pancreas or small bowel.

You, your home care nurses and the Interventional Radiology Team will work together to keep your biliary drain working well and free from infection.

There are a few things you’ll need to look out for. Occasionally fluid can leak out around the tube. This is generally not serious and can be addressed with gauze or dressing. Occasionally the external drainage tube becomes blocked and flow to the bile bag stops. This may result in internal pressure or pain near the liver. You must consult your doctor immediately. If the site looks or feels infected, or if you develop a fever, you must also consult your doctor immediately.

To learn more about day-to-day care of your liver drain, consult your Doctor or a member of our care team.

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