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Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography

Stephan Anderson, MD
Section Editors
Sanjiv Chopra, MD, MACP
Jonathan B Kruskal, MD, PhD
Deputy Editor
Kristen M Robson, MD, MBA, FACG


Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC) involves transhepatic insertion of a needle into a bile duct, followed by injection of contrast material to opacify the bile ducts. PTC is usually performed for evaluation of patients who are found to have biliary duct dilation on ultrasonography or other imaging tests and who are not candidates for endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP). Included in this group are patients who have surgically altered anatomy preventing endoscopic access to the biliary tree and those in whom ERCP was unsuccessful. PTC has close to 100 percent sensitivity and specificity for identifying the cause and site of biliary tract obstruction, being more accurate in this regard than ultrasonography or CT scan.

PTC also permits a number of therapeutic interventions, including drainage of infected bile in the setting of cholangitis, extraction of biliary tract stones, dilation of benign biliary strictures, or placement of a stent across a malignant stricture [1].

This topic will discuss the basic aspects of the technique of PTC and the complications that may be seen. The clinical utility of PTC in different disease states is discussed separately.

(See "Treatment options for locally advanced cholangiocarcinoma".)

(See "Acute cholangitis".)

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Literature review current through: Nov 2017. | This topic last updated: Sep 28, 2017.
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