Cancer diagnosis and treatment at West Cancer Center involves a team of experts in multiple specialties. This multidisciplinary, team-based approach provides the net comfort to our patients that they are going to receive the best care available, right here in Memphis. 


What is a biliary drainage?

It is a procedure in which a catheter is placed through the skin and into the bile ducts of the liver to drain bile. Normally, bile ducts drain bile from the liver to the bowel. When bile ducts are clogged or have holes, bile cannot drain. A biliary drain gives an outlet for bile to empty from the liver and alleviates the back-up of bile and allows healing.

You will be given antibiotics and pain medication through your IV prior to the procedure. The radiologist will use a local anesthetic to numb the skin where the biliary drain is placed. This local anesthetic is like the shot the dentist uses for numbing. First, the radiologist will then place a needle into the bile duct. Next he or she will place a wire further into the duct and then place the drainage catheter. The procedure usually takes 3 hours.

How do I prepare for the procedure?

No solid food after midnight the day before your procedure. Clear liquids are allowed the morning of your procedure unless otherwise directed. Clear Liquids include: tea, water, sprite, 7-up, jell-o, broth, coffee without cream, or popsicles.

Medication Instructions for all Interventional Procedures:

  1. You must be off your blood thinners for 5 days prior to procedure. These medications include aspirin, Plavix, Coumadin (Warfarin), and Pletal.
  2. If you are on any of these medicines, please inform the doctor that prescribed them before stopping them.
  3. Please notify west clinic nurse or doctor if they are not aware you are taking these medicines.
  4. If you have any questions regarding your meds, including if they are blood thinners, please call 901-922-6707.
  5. Take any additional routine medications the day of the procedure. If you are on insulin ask your doctor about any adjustments that may be needed.

Your arrival time is 1 ½ hours prior to your procedure. We will need the additional time to do necessary lab tests, start an IV, ask pre-procedural questions and do a nursing assessment.

You will need someone to drive you home. You will not be allowed to drive yourself. If you do not have someone to drive you home your appointment will be rescheduled. You cannot use public transportation.

Printable Instructions

To print a copy of these instruction, click here for a printable PDF.