JOURNAL ARTICLE
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Biliary complications after liver transplantation: a review.

After liver transplantation, the prevalence of complications related to the biliary system is 6-35%. In recent years, the diagnosis and treatment of biliary problems has changed markedly. The two standard methods of biliary reconstruction in liver transplant recipients are the duct-to-duct choledochocholedochostomy and the Roux-en-Y-hepaticojejunostomy. Biliary leakage occurs in approximately 5-7% of transplant cases. Leakage from the site of anastomosis, the T-tube exit site and donor or recipient remnant cystic duct is well described. Symptomatic bile leakage should be treated by stenting of the duct by endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) or percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTCD). Biliary strictures can occur at the site of the anastomosis (anastomotic stricture; AS) or at other locations in the biliary tree (non-anastomotic strictures; NAS). AS occur in 5-10% of cases and are due to fibrotic healing. Treatment by ERCP or PTCD with dilatation and progressive stenting is successful in the majority of cases. NAS can occur in the context of a hepatic artery thrombosis, or with an open hepatic artery (ischaemic type biliary lesions or ITBL). The incidence is 5-10%. NAS has been associated with various types of injury, e.g. macrovascular, microvascular, immunological and cytotoxic injury by bile salts. Treatment can be attempted with multiple sessions of dilatation and stenting of stenotic areas by ERCP or PTCD. In cases of localized diseased and good graft function, biliary reconstructive surgery is useful. However, a significant number of patients will need a re-transplant. When biliary strictures or ischaemia of the graft are present, stones, casts and sludge can develop.

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