The role of sonography and transhepatic cholangiography in the diagnosis of biliary complications after liver transplantation.


We retrospectively reviewed the results of real-time sonography in 41 patients in whom biliary complications after liver transplantation were documented by percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography. Abnormalities included bile duct stricture (26 cases), occluded internal biliary stent (six cases), common duct redundancy with resultant functional biliary obstruction (three cases), bile leak (three cases), choledocholithiasis (two cases), and an abscess in a cystic duct remnant (one case). Sonography was abnormal in 22 of the 41 cases (sensitivity, 54%). Bile duct dilatation was the positive sonographic finding in 19 (86%) of the 22 abnormal examinations. In the remaining 19 patients, sonography was normal. Sonography is not a reliable test for the early detection of biliary abnormalities after liver transplantation. Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography should be performed in patients with suspected biliary complications after liver transplantation.


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