I have an ERCP and a PTC which drains into an external bag.The ERCP came first, but didn't do much so they added the PTC drain. Both are plastic. The first 2 months after receiving the PTC drain was very uncomfortable and I also ended up with a blood infection (can't say for certain if this was from the PTC). I have had both stents in for 7months.
There were a few times when I found a little bit of blood in the bag, but it was only like a teaspoon - that hasn't happened in a long while.
Also for the first month, the site where the tube comes out seemed to always be moist with bile. I or the nurse would have to change the dressing frequently.
As for bilirubin levels - mine are all over the board - they go from 45 - 88. I am in Canada so I am not sure if they use the same measurements in the US for this.
I have decided to start eating Oat Bran for breakfast every morning - it apparently helps with the elimination of bile in your liver.
Hope this helps - all the best,