A stent is a tiny tube that doctor insert into the patient’s blocked passageway to keep it open. Stent restores the flow of blood in the body. Pancreatic cancer blocks the bile duct and causes jaundice, and you may have a stent put into the bile duct. Stent opens the passage of bile ducts, which are tubes that carry bile to and from digestive organs.
Plastic stent and metal stent are made of a specialized fabric. For a blocked bile duct, the stent is put in by using the below procedures.
Stent put in by ERCP
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography is used to diagnose diseases of the biliary system, gallbladder, pancreas, and liver. The test looks from upstream where the digestive fluid comes from the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas to the place it enters the intestines. It can be used to treat problems in these parts of the digestive system.
An ERCP includes a tube with a camera on the end which is passed down your throat. Before the ERCP, you have to tell your doctor about any medicines that you are taking, especially for diabetes. The team will tell you how to take these medicines before the ERCP.
You will be not allowed to eat or drink for at least six hours before the ERCP. If required then you may be able to have small sips of water up to two hours before. This process works when your stomach and duodenum are empty. You will have a sedative before the stent is inserted which will make you sleepy and relaxed but won’t send you to sleep.
The flexible tube has a camera and light on the end is put into your mouth and passed down through your throat into your stomach. The camera will show the inside of your body on a monitor. The stent is put inside the bile duct by using a small wire. When the stent is placed right, the wire is removed. The stent unblocks the bile duct, which should then drain normally.
The ERCP procedure usually takes 30-40 minutes.
Stent put in by PTC
Some people are not able to put in a stent with an ERCP, so the stent is put in by Percutaneous Transhepatic Cholangiogram (PTC). In this, the stent is passed through the tummy wall and liver, and then into the bile duct, by using a thin needle. A PTC is used if the blockage is high up in the bile duct and near the liver. You will have a sedative to make you sleepy following with the injections of a local anesthetic into your tummy area or lower chest.
The PTC needle gets into the bile duct using x-ray pictures on a monitor screen. Further, the dye is injected into the needle to show the blockage on the screen. A wire is put into the needle and guide the stent into position. An x-ray of your bile duct will be taken of your to make sure that the stent is in the right place.
It is easy to know if the plastic biliary stent is working by improvement in any symptoms of jaundice in the first couple of days.