Biliary Stent Placement: What to Expect at Home

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Your Recovery

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP)

If your biliary duct placement was done with ERCP, you probably will stay at the hospital or clinic for 1 to 2 hours. This will allow the numbing medicine to wear off. You will be able to go home after your doctor or a nurse checks to make sure that you are not having any problems. If you stay in the hospital overnight, you may go home the next day.

You may have a sore throat for a day or two after the procedure.

Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC)

If the placement was done with PTC, your doctor may have you lie on your right side for at least 6 hours before you can go home. This is to lower the risk of bleeding from the injection site.

If you stay in the hospital overnight, you may go home the next day.

You may have some pain where the needle entered your skin (the puncture site). You may also have pain in your shoulder. This is called referred pain. It's caused by pain travelling along a nerve that goes to the liver. The referred pain usually lasts less than 12 hours. You may have a small amount of bleeding from the puncture site.

You will need to take it easy at home for 1 or 2 days after the PTC. You will probably be able to go back to work and most of your usual activities after that.

This care sheet gives you a general idea about how long it will take for you to recover. But each person recovers at a different pace. Follow the steps below to feel better as quickly as possible.

How can you care for yourself at home?

Activity

  • Rest as much as you need to after you go home.
  • You should be able to go back to your usual activities within a day or two, depending on how physically hard those activities are.

Diet

  • Follow your doctor's directions for eating after the procedure.
  • Drink plenty of fluids (unless your doctor tells you not to).

Medicines

  • Your doctor will tell you if and when you can restart your medicines. He or she will also give you instructions about taking any new medicines.
  • If you take aspirin or some other blood thinner, be sure to talk to your doctor. He or she will tell you if and when to start taking this medicine again. Make sure that you understand exactly what your doctor wants you to do.

Follow-up care is a key part of your treatment and safety. Be sure to make and go to all appointments, and call your doctor or nurse call line if you are having problems. It's also a good idea to know your test results and keep a list of the medicines you take.

When should you call for help?

Call 911 anytime you think you may need emergency care. For example, call if:

  • You passed out (lost consciousness).
  • You vomit blood or what looks like coffee grounds.

Call your doctor now or seek immediate medical care if:

  • You have new or worse belly pain.
  • You have nausea or vomiting.
  • You have signs of infection, such as:
    • Increased pain, swelling, warmth, or redness.
    • Red streaks leading from the puncture site.
    • Pus draining from the puncture site.
    • A fever.
  • You bleed through your bandage.
  • Your stools are bloody or black.
  • You are not getting better as expected.

Watch closely for changes in your health, and be sure to contact your doctor or nurse call line if you have any problems.

Where can you learn more?

Go to http://www.healthwise.net/ed

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