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Biliary drainage, sometimes also referred to as a PTC (percutaneous transhepatic cholangiogram), is an invasive procedure carried out by a radiologist for biliary obstruction. It is usually carried out for malignant biliary obstruction (i.e. due to cholangiocarcinoma or metastases), but benign biliary strictures can also occur.
The risk to an individual depends very much on the specific clinical scenario (e.g. comorbidities, presence of disseminated cancer). However, published data suggest the following overall major complication rates:
Some biliary interventions can be achieved endoscopically (ERCP), avoiding the need for percutaneous hepatic puncture and its associated risks. In some cases though, ERCP is not technically possible (such as where there is no endoscopic access, i.e. previous gastrectomy). All biliary drainage referrals should therefore be discussed with the radiologist and the relevant imaging should be available so that the correct decision for that individual patient can be made.
Cardiovascular and Interventional Radiological Society of Europe:
Page last modified on 29/3/2017.
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