How long must a percutaneous cholecystostomy catheter remain within the gallbladder before it can be removed?
Although some investigators have shown that such catheters can often be safely removed in less time, the majority suggest that the cholecystostomy catheter should stay within the gallbladder for at least 4 to 6 weeks. This allows time for a mature tract to form between the gallbladder and skin surface in an effort to prevent bile leakage into the peritoneal space when the catheter is removed. Catheters are generally removed only in the setting of acalculous cholecystitis that has resolved and when obstruction has been relieved as noted on a tube check with cholangiogram. If calculi are present, catheters usually cannot be removed unless cholecystectomy can be performed, given the ongoing risk of ductal obstruction by the calculi.