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Gastroenterology Research and Practice
Volume 2016, Article ID 3296801, 7 pages
Review Article

Malignant Biliary Obstruction: Evidence for Best Practice

1Setor de Endoscopia Gastrointestinal, Departamento de Gastroenterologia, Hospital das Clínicas da Faculdade de Medicina da Universidade de São Paulo, 05403-000 São Paulo, SP, Brazil
2Gastroenterology Department, Lyell McEwen Hospital, Adelaide, Haydown Road, Elizabeth Vale, SA 5112, Australia

Received 23 October 2015; Accepted 17 January 2016

Academic Editor: Mohamad H. Imam

Copyright © 2016 Leonardo Zorrón Cheng Tao Pu et al. This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.


What should be done next? Is the stricture benign? Is it resectable? Should I place a stent? Which one? These are some of the questions one ponders when dealing with biliary strictures. In resectable cases, ongoing questions remain as to whether the biliary tree should be drained prior to surgery. In palliative cases, the relief of obstruction remains the main goal. Options for palliative therapy include surgical bypass, percutaneous drainage, and stenting or endoscopic stenting (transpapillary or via an endoscopic ultrasound approach). This review gathers scientific foundations behind these interventions. For operable cases, preoperative biliary drainage should not be performed unless there is evidence of cholangitis, there is delay in surgical intervention, or intense jaundice is present. For inoperable cases, transpapillary stenting after sphincterotomy is preferable over percutaneous drainage. The use of plastic stents (PS) has no benefit over Self-Expandable Metallic Stents (SEMS). In case transpapillary drainage is not possible, Endoscopic Ultrasonography- (EUS-) guided drainage is still an option over percutaneous means. There is no significant difference between the types of SEMS and its indication should be individualized.