T-tube Care Post Transplant
Your transplant surgeon may need to place a small tube, called a T-tube, into the bile duct
during your liver transplant surgery. The T-tube is a small, rubber tube that sits in the bile
duct and allows bile to drain out of your body into a small pouch, known as a bile bag.
The transplant team can then check the amount of bile being made by the new liver. The
bile will drain into the bag. The bile drainage should be a deep gold to dark green color.
The T-tube is attached to your skin with a stitch.
Typically while you are still in the hospital the transplant team will take off the bag and
put a cap on your tube. However, some patient may need to continue to have the bag
attached and the tube open even after they go home. Your transplant team will decide
when you can cap the tube. The tube may also need to be reopened if there is concern for
a problem. Make sure you have supplies to open the tube and reattach the bag after you
The T-tube with the cap on it will remain in place for about four months so that it can be
used for special testing and to allow the bile duct to heal.
The dressing around the tube should be changed at least once daily, and more often if it
becomes moist. The transplant nurse will show you how to change the dressing without
pulling out the T-tube. The transplant nurse will also show you how to repair the tube if it
Notify your transplant nurse or coordinator of the
ξ T-tube gets pulled out (either totally or
ξ T-tube gets a crack in it
ξ There is drainage around the T-tube site
ξ The bile in the drainage changes color
Your health care team may have given you this information as part of your care. If so, please use it and call
if you have any questions. If this information was not given to you as part of your care, please check with
your doctor. This is not medical advice. This is not to be used for diagnosis or treatment of any medical
condition. Because each person’s health needs are different, you should talk with your doctor or others on
your health care team when using this information. If you have an emergency, please call 911. Copyright ©
1/2016. University of Wisconsin Hospitals and Clinics Authority. All rights reserved. Produced by the
Department of Nursing. HF#7411.