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A Journal on Gastroenterology, Nutrition and Dietetics

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Minerva Gastroenterologica e Dietologica 2008 June;54(2):141-50

language: English

Endoscopic management of biliary leaks. The answer for the future

Navaneethan U. 1, Jayanthi V. 2

1 University of Cincinnati College of Medicine Ohio, USA
2 Stanley Medical College, Chennai, India


Bile duct diseases and biliary leaks are not uncommon complications and their management is challenging. Majority of bile leaks occur secondary to trauma, major liver, gallbladder and biliary tract surgeries. Early recognition of bile leaks by imaging combined with a high clinical suspicion is required. Bile leaks can be managed either conservatively, or through percutaneous drainage, or endoscopically or by surgical intervention. The innovations in endoscopic techniques have expanded the horizons for managing patients with bile leaks irrespective of their etiology. Endoscopic interventions through biliary sphincterotomy alone, biliary stenting with or without sphincterotomy, and nasobiliary drainage with or without sphincterotomy, use of self expanding covered metal stents and the recent use of biodegradable stents have been very effective in the management of all kinds of biliary leaks. All endoscopic techniques are based on the principle that eliminating the rise in pressure inside the bile duct by promoting decompression in the form of stent placement/sphincterotomy promotes healing of bile leaks. Further future developments in endoscopic techniques are expected to improve their effectiveness in managing patients with bile leaks.

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