Imaging findings and available percutaneous techniques for the treatment of bile leaks after hepatobiliary surgery

Authors Salvatore Alessio Angileri, Giovanni Maria Rodà, Anna Paola Savoldi, Letizia Di Meglio, Giulia Signorelli, Anna Maria Ierardi, Nikolaos Galanakis, Dimitrios Tsetis, Gianpaolo Carrafiello.


Background The aim of this study was to evaluate the diagnosis and management of postoperative bile leaks, reporting typical diagnostic findings and available percutaneous techniques in association with other diagnostic and management methods.

Methods Thirty-six patients (28 male) were treated for postoperative bile leaks. A biliary leak was clinically suspected in case of persistent leakage of bilious material from a surgical drain, or in the presence of non-specific symptoms such as abdominal pain, fever and anorexia, with or without laboratory alteration of liver enzymes. Radiological confirmation was mainly based on noninvasive methods such as ultrasound, computed tomography, and magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography. We assessed each treatment by evaluating multiple factors, including technical success (TS) and clinical effectiveness (CE), defined as primary or secondary. We also evaluated overall CE (OCE), defined as leak control with either single or multiple procedures.

Results TS and OCE were achieved in all patients (36/36; 100%) with a grade A or B biliary leak. No grade C was observed. There were no major complications. Minor complications were observed in 7/36 (19.4%) patients. No procedure-related deaths occurred.

Conclusions In our study, considering all percutaneous techniques, leak healing was achieved in all the patients with a grade A or B biliary leak. These procedures provide a less invasive approach and are increasingly recognized as having a significant role in the management of complications and should be considered as an integral component in the postoperative management of these patients.

Keywords Bile leakage, postoperative complications, percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage, covered stents, embolization

Ann Gastroenterol 2020; 33 (6): 675-679

Original Articles