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Radiographics. 2013 Jan-Feb;33(1):117-34. doi: 10.1148/rg.331125044.

Management of iatrogenic bile duct injuries: role of the interventional radiologist.

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Mallinckrodt Institute of Radiology, Washington University School of Medicine, 510 S Kingshighway Blvd, Campus Box 8131, St Louis, MO 63110, USA.


Bile duct injuries are infrequent but potentially devastating complications of biliary tract surgery and have become more common since the introduction of laparoscopic cholecystectomy. The successful management of these injuries depends on the injury type, the timing of its recognition, the presence of complicating factors, the condition of the patient, and the availability of an experienced hepatobiliary surgeon. Bile duct injuries may lead to bile leakage, intraabdominal abscesses, cholangitis, and secondary biliary cirrhosis due to chronic strictures. Imaging is vital for the initial diagnosis of bile duct injury, assessment of its extent, and guidance of its treatment. Imaging options include cholescintigraphy, ultrasonography, computed tomography, magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography, endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography, and fluoroscopy with a contrast medium injected via a surgically or percutaneously placed biliary drainage catheter. Depending on the type of injury, management may include endoscopic, percutaneous, and open surgical interventions. Percutaneous intervention is performed for biloma and abscess drainage, transhepatic biliary drainage, U-tube placement, dilation of bile duct strictures and stent placement to maintain ductal patency, and management of complications from previous percutaneous interventions. Endoscopic and percutaneous interventional procedures may be performed for definitive treatment or as adjuncts to definitive surgical repair. In patients who are eligible for surgery, surgical biliary tract reconstruction is the best treatment option for most major bile duct injuries. When reconstruction is performed by an experienced hepatobiliary surgeon, an excellent long-term outcome can be achieved, particularly if percutaneous interventions are performed as needed preoperatively to optimize the patient's condition and postoperatively to manage complications.

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