Cholecystostomy Drain

Cholecystostomy Drain (Gall Bladder)

The gallbladder is a pear-shaped organ that is part of the digestive system. It lies underneath the liver on the right side. Bile, is a fluid made by the liver to help to digest fats, is stored in the gallbladder. Sometimes particles in the bile form gallstones.

What is gall bladder drainage?

Cholecystostomy is a minimally invasive, image-guided procedure performed by an interventional radiologist to place a tube into your gallbladder to drain it.

Why is a cholecystostomy performed?

This procedure is sometimes done when the outlet, or “neck” of the gallbladder is blocked by a tumor or gallstone.

The gallbladder may be infected or swollen. Sometimes, the blockage causes pain. The procedure may be used when treatment by removal of the gallbladder is considered unsafe due to one’s condition or the infection is severe.

Sometimes, the gallbladder requires draining  prior to surgical removal. Draining the gallbladder can help reduce both swelling and infection, making later surgery safer.

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What is the preparation for a cholecystostomy?

Most patients cannot plan for this procedure, as it is usually an emergency procedure. However, you can plan some things, such as finding a responsible adult to drive you home from the hospital. Also, you can arrange for help at home for your care and recovery afterwards. Plan on resting, and try to get help with your daily duties.

If you do have the opportunity, follow the instructions RIA Endovascular provides you. Eat a light meal, such as soup or salad, the night before the procedure. Follow the instructions for the morning before the procedure.

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What happens during the procedure?

The cholecystostomy is performed in the interventional radiology suite at the hospital. The procedure will be explained, along with risks and benefits, and you will be asked to sign a consent form.

Next, you will likely be provided with a sedative to help you relax. You will either be given local or general anesthesia to prevent you from feeling pain during the procedure. The local anesthetic numbs only the part of your body where the procedure is being performed, so you remain awake. General anesthesia both relaxes your muscles puts you to “sleep.”

The procedure usually takes approximately one hour. The interventional radiologist will place a tube into your gallbladder through a small (percutaneous) cut in your skin. The tube will be connected to a drainage bag. You may need to have stones removed from the gallbladder when the tube is placed. A scope, X-rays, or ultrasound may be used to help place the tube without opening the abdomen. Your physician will discuss the choices with you and make recommendations for the best method for your particular health situation.

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What about recovery?

You will stay in the hospital until your gallbladder is drained and better. This may take a few days. It is likely that you will go home with the tube in place.  If the plan is to have the gallbladder surgically removed, it will be done when you are better and when there is less inflammation.

Since you may not be able to eat normally for a few days, you will be given fluids intravenously (through a vein) until you can return to a normal diet.

Since you may not be able to eat normally for a few days, you will be given fluids intravenously (through a vein) until you can return to a normal diet.

You will stay in the hospital until your gallbladder is drained and better. This may take a few days. It is likely that you will go home with the tube in place.  If the plan is to have the gallbladder surgically removed, it will be done when you are better and when there is less inflammation.

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What are the risks of this procedure?

  • Infection in the gallbladder may not be controlled.
  • Your provider may need to place another drain to treat the infection.
  • You may need antibiotics.
  • The tube might leak.
  • The tube may not drain the gallbladder entirely.
  • The local anesthesia may not numb the area quite enough, and you may experience some discomfort. In rare cases, you may have an allergic reaction to the drug used in this type of anesthesia.
  • Depending on your condition, local anesthesia may be safer than general anesthesia, which also has its risks.

Call right away if:

  • You have unusual abdominal pain, are nauseated, have vomiting, develop a fever, and-or the drainage tube comes out.

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How should you follow-up after this procedure?

Your interventional radiologist and nursing team will provide follow-up information, including when you should arrange a checkup visit.

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CONSULTS. REFERRALS. SCHEDULING. APPOINTMENTS.

Call RIA Endovascular at 720.493.3406.

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