This procedure is performed to relieve the blockage of the tubes that drain the bile juice (bile ducts) from the liver. The procedure is performed under aseptic conditions in the angiography suite. During the procedure, local anaesthesia (pain killer) is injected into the skin at the access site to prevent discomfort. An injection of a mild sedative is also given to ensure that you are comfortable and relaxed during the procedure.

Under imaging guidance, a fine needle is inserted through a pin hole access in the skin of the upper abdomen in to a branch of the bile draining tubes within the liver. A special X-ray dye is injected to obtain a picture of the biliary system (cholangiogram) to identify the site of the blockage. Then the blockage is carefully crossed with a fine wire under X-ray guidance and a special catheter (fine tube) is inserted through the blockage and the tip is placed in the bowel so the bile can drain through the catheter in to the bowel. A metallic stent (cylindrical metal wire mesh) can be inserted through the blocked segment to keep it open and allow the bile to drain normally.