Benefits vs. Risks of a TIPS Procedure
- A TIPS is designed to produce the same physiological results as a surgical shunt or bypass, without the risks that accompany open surgery.
- TIPS is a minimally invasive procedure that typically has a shorter recovery time than surgery.
- Your TIPS should have less of an effect than open surgical bypass on future liver transplantation surgery, because the abdomen has not been entered.
- The TIPS is contained entirely inside the diseased liver, and is removed with it during a transplant operation.
- Studies have shown that this procedure is successful in reducing variceal bleeding in more than 90 percent of patients.
- No surgical incision is needed—only a small nick in the skin that does not have to be stitched closed.
Any procedure where the skin is penetrated carries a risk of infection. The chance of infection requiring antibiotic treatment appears to be less than one in 1,000.
There is a very slight risk of an allergic reaction to the contrast material used for venograms. Also, kidney failure (temporary or permanent) due to contrast material use is a concern, particularly in patients with poor kidney function.
Any procedure that involves placement of a catheter inside a blood vessel carries certain risks. These risks include damage to the blood vessel, bruising or bleeding at the puncture site, and infection.
Other possible complications of the procedure include:
- Muscle stiffness in the neck
- Bruising on the neck at the point of catheter insertion
- delayed stenosis, or narrowing within the stent, which is less common with the current generation of GORE-TEX-lined stents
- Serious complications, reported in fewer than five percent of cases, may include:
- Occlusion, or complete blockage, of the stent and rapid recurrence of symptoms
- infection of the stent or fabric lining
- Abdominal bleeding that might require a transfusion
- Laceration of the hepatic artery, which may result in severe liver injury or bleeding that could require a transfusion or urgent intervention
- Heart arrhythmias or congestive heart failure
- Radiation injury to the skin is a rare complication (it may happen in complex and lengthy procedures requiring extended fluoroscopy use)
- Death (rare)