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T-Tube Care

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What is a T-Tube?

A T-Tube is a rubber tubing inserted into the bile duct to drain bile into a bag.

Why Do You Need a T-Tube?

After bile duct surgery, there may be swelling on your bile duct which may obstruct the flow of bile. A T-Tube is put in place after your surgery to drain bile while the duct is healing.

The T-Tube may remain in the bile duct for about 4 to 6 weeks.

Before the tube is removed, your doctor will order an X-ray to check if your bile duct has healed and that there is no blockage.

How to Take Care of the T–Tube and the  Skin Around the Tube?

  • The T-Tube is secured to the skin with a stitch. It is possible that the area where the T-Tube enters the skin could become inflamed.

  • You should keep the area clean and dry.

  • The dressing around the tube should be changed at least once a week or whenever it is wet.

  • You can go to a nearby polyclinic/GP to change dressing.

  • You should avoid any vigorous movements that might damage or dislodge the T–Tube.

How Should You Take Care of Your Drainage Bag?

  • You will be taught how to measure and empty the bag before going home.

  • The bag needs to be emptied when it becomes one third full.

  • Measure and record the date, time, amount and colour of your bile into the chart provided below.

  • Total up the amount every 24 hours

  • Bring along this brochure with you during the follow-up visit with your doctor (Download PDF version above)


What Precautions in My Diet Do I Need to Take After the Procedure?

  • Eat small and frequent meals

  • Keep to a low fat diet during the first few weeks after the operation 

  • >Drink the same amount of liquid as your bile drainage output each day

  • Isotonic drinks such as 100 plus, Gatorade and Pocari Sweat are preferred as they help to replace the minerals lost in the bile that is drained out.

Seek Medical Attention Immediately When:

  1. There is breakage of the stitch that secures the T-Tube to the skin.

  2. Slipping out or slipped T-Tube.

  3. Increased redness, warmth, pain, tenderness on or around the skin around the T-Tube.

  4. Formation of blisters around the T-Tube site.

  5. Leakage of bile around the T-Tube wound site.

  6. Fever above 37.5˚C, chills or feeling unwell.

  7. Bile drainage is bloody in colour (normal bile is deep gold to dark green in colour).

  8. Bile drainage is more than one litre per day.

Where Can I Seek Medical Attention?

  1. Your nearest Polyclinic or family doctor.

  2. Contact HPB Surgery Coordinator at 9720 8661 during office hours (Mondays - Fridays: 8.00 am – 5.00 pm except Public Holidays)

  3. After office hours, you are advised to seek treatment at the Hospital Emergency Department

To rearrange your appointment, contact TTSH Surgery Specialist Clinic during office hours at 6357 7000 (Centralised Appointment) or 6889 4242 (Non-Subsidised Appointment).

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