This information is approved and/or reviewed by U-M Health System providers but it is not a tool for self-diagnosis or a substitute for medical treatment. You should speak to your physician or make an appointment to be seen if you have questions or concerns about this information or your medical condition.| Complete disclaimer
Flushing your External Biliary Tube
Flush your biliary tube*______ times per day
1. Gather supplies:
- 10 cc syringe
- Vial of saline
- Alcohol swab or cotton ball soaked with rubbing alcohol
- Clean cap for tube
- Paper towel
- Gloves (Optional)
2. Wash your hands well. Put on gloves (optional).
3. Open vial of saline, clean top of vial with alcohol.
4. Attach needle to syringe. Pull back on plunger to approximately *______cc's, filling syringe with air.
5. Insert needle/syringe into rubber stopper of vial, inject the air from the syringe into the vial.
6. Keeping the needle/syringe in the rubber stopper, turn needle/syringe with vial upside down. Pull back on the plunger, filling the syringe with saline to approximately the*________ cc line.
7. Remove needle/syringe from vial. Remove any large air bubbles by holding syringe with needle pointing upward and tapping on the syringe so the bubbles rise to the top, then squirt them out. Recap needle.
8. Place paper towel under end of biliary tube to catch any fluid that may leak when flushing.
9. Remove cap from end of tube without touching end of cap or end of tube. Place cap on clean surface with inner portion of cap not touching anything.
10. Remove needle from syringe and screw syringe onto end of biliary tube.
11. Slowly inject saline into tube. Do not draw the fluid back out with the syringe.
12. Remove syringe from tube and re-attach cap. If cap has become contaminated by touching the end or dropping it, use a new cap. Otherwise, change cap every three days.
You may reuse the vial of saline until it is gone. Dispose of the needle/syringe in a sealable container (e.g. empty bleach or detergent bottle with cap). You may want to check with your visiting nurse or the public health department in your area regarding sharps disposal regulations in your area.
If your biliary tube is with a drainage bag instead of being capped, treat the end of the bag tubing the same as you would the cap. Keep it as clean as possible when unhooking it to perform the flush. If the end of the drainage bag tubing becomes contaminated, clean it off with alcohol before reattaching to the biliary tube.
Notify your physician if:
- You meet a lot of resistance and are unable to flush the tube
- You notice leaking at the skin site when flushing the tube
* Please note that some information varies from patient to patient. Please check with your doctor or nurse for further information
U-M Health System Related Sites:
U-M Department of Internal Medicine Division of Gastroenterology