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Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiodrainage as rescue therapy for symptomatic biliary leakage without biliary tract dilation after major surgery.

Symptomatic biliary leakage following major upper abdominal surgery is a severe complication resulting in increased morbidity and mortality. Treatment options usually include either endoscopic intervention or surgical revision. These options may be burdened by a high perioperative risk for the patient (e.g., patients with severe disease) or simply may not be possible (e.g., nonpreserved gastroduodenal passage). In the past, percutaneous transhepatic cholangiodrainage did only seem to be a viable option for patients with dilated bile ducts. Here, we present our experience in a consecutive series of patients with symptomatic biliary leakage following major upper abdominal surgery and without dilation of the biliary system that underwent percutaneous transhepatic cholangiodrainage. Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiodrainage was feasible in 15 of 18 patients (83.3%). The procedure was technically not possible in three patients (16.7%). In 10 of the 15 patients (66.6%) with feasible percutaneous transhepatic cholangiodrainage, biliary leakage was definitely controlled without the need for surgical revision. Depending on the experience with the interventional procedure, percutaneous transhepatic cholangiodrainage should be considered as an alternative for treatment of symptomatic biliary leakage instead of immediate reoperation.

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