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A transjugular intrahepatic portosystemic shunt (TIPS) is a minimally invasive procedure used to connect two blood vessels within the liver. When a patient is suffering from a liver disease like hepatitis, this can cause hypertension within the veins that are directed to your liver (portal hypertension).

The TIPS procedure is a bypass created within your liver. It connects the veins that feed your liver with the veins that drain your liver. This bypass restore healthy blood flow to the liver, reducing the symptoms of hypertension.

How to Prepare for TIPS

  • Plan to arrive one hour before the procedure for lab tests.
  • You should not eat or drink anything the day of the procedure.
  • Your interventional radiologist may advise you to stop taking medication or blood thinners a week before the procedure.
  • The TIPS procedure is performed under general anesthesia. Before this procedure, you will have to be evaluated by your primary care physician and your doctor will determine if you are in good condition to be put to sleep.
  • If you have heart or lung problems, you may need additional tests to make sure that you are fit for the procedure.

What to Expect

  • This procedure will take 1-2 hours to complete.
  • The procedure is performed under general anesthesia; you should not feel pain, but may experience some discomfort.
  • The entire procedure is performed through a small incision done within your right or left jugular vein.
  • This procedure can be performed with either contrast dye or a gas (carbon dioxide), if your kidney function is suboptimal.
  • TIPS requires a needlestick within your liver, with a special needle, to connect the veins that feed and drain your liver.
  • Once the connection is established, the interventional radiologist will create a tract within your liver by inflating a small balloon and placing a metallic stent to keep that connection open.
  • Once the procedure is finished, the catheters are removed from your neck and pressure is applied. No stitches are required.

What to Expect after TIPS

  • You will be admitted to the hospital for a 23 hour observation.
  • Most patients are discharged 1 hour after observation.
  • Your interventional radiologist will schedule a follow up appointment one week after the procedure for an ultrasound of the shunt. After this, clinical evaluations and ultrasounds will be scheduled every 6 months. You will otherwise manage symptoms with your hepatologist or gastroenterologist.

For More Information

For more information on TIPS, or to schedule an appointment with an interventional radiologist, please call 847.570.2160.