What is an endoscopic biliary stenting?

Endoscopic biliary stenting can alleviate blockages in the bile duct (the tube that drains bile from the liver into the small intestine).

The procedure is called endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, or ERCP for short. During the procedure sedation is required. While the patient is sedated a special endoscope is passed through the mouth and down to the small intestine. The opening of the bile duct, the ampulla, is identified. A small flexible wire is carefully advanced into the bile duct. A small cut is made on the ampulla to allow for the stent to be placed. Following which a stent, plastic or metal, can be placed safely in the bile duct. The stent will "prop" the bile duct open to allow bile to flow normally.

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