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Your Biliary Catheter Change Appointment

This information will help you keep track of your biliary catheter change appointment and help you understand when you need to call the Interventional Radiology Department. For more about how to care for your biliary catheter, review the information in Caring for Your Biliary Drainage Catheter.

Scheduling Your Catheter Change Appointment

Your biliary catheter was placed or changed in the Interventional Radiology Department on _______________. Biliary catheters need to be changed regularly, usually every 8 to 12 weeks. Your doctor has instructed you to have your biliary catheter changed every ____ weeks.

We recommend you make your next appointment while you're here at Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center (MSK) having your catheter placed or changed. If that's not possible, or if you need to change your appointment, please call (212) 639-7946 at least 3 weeks before the date you would like to come in for your catheter change. To avoid wait times at the hospital, try to schedule your appointment as close to 8:00 am as possible.

Use this area to write your appointment information:

  • Your next catheter change appointment is _________________________.
  • Call to schedule a catheter change appointment. Ask for an appointment the week of __________. When you schedule your appointment, write it here__________________.

Sedation

Biliary catheters are usually changed without sedation (medication to make you sleepy). You may have a little discomfort for a few minutes, but most patients don't find the procedure painful. If you do not have sedation, you can leave once your procedure is finished.

If you feel you need sedation for your catheter change, tell the person scheduling your appointment. If you will receive sedation, you will need to visit the pre-procedure area before your appointment. You will spend at least 4 hours at the hospital on the day of your procedure, and you will need a responsible adult to take you home afterward. You will also need to follow the additional instructions below:

  • Between midnight and up until 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time, you may drink a total of 8 ounces of clear liquids. This includes the liquids you will need to swallow any medications you were instructed to take the morning of your procedure. 
  • Starting 2 hours before your scheduled arrival time, do not drink anything, including water. Do not chew gum or suck on any hard candies.
  • Leave all valuables, such as credit cards and jewelry, at home.
  • If you wear contact lenses, if possible, wear your glasses instead. If you don't have glasses please bring a case for your contacts.
  • If you use a C-pap or Bi-pap machine to sleep at night, if possible please bring your machine in. If you can't bring your machine we will give you one to use while you are in the hospital.
  • For more information about preparing for procedures in Interventional Radiology, see Instructions for Interventional Radiology Procedures.

Call the Interventional Radiology Department if you have any of the following:

  • The drainage from your catheter is less than usual, or stops completely
  • The catheter is pulled out of position
  • The catheter is broken
  • There is any leakage of fluid around your catheter site
  • There is pain at or around your catheter site.
  • You are not able to flush the catheter the way you normally do
  • You have a temperature of 101° F (38.3° C) or higher
  • You have questions or problems that are worrying you

If your catheter is not connected to a drainage bag, and you have a temperature of 101° F (38.3° C) or higher, leaking around the catheter site, or there is pain at or around your catheter site. Connect your catheter to a drainage bag before you call.