A treatment for biliary hypoplasia: tube cholecystostomy and irrigation

Eur J Pediatr Surg. 2003 Feb;13(1):21-5. doi: 10.1055/s-2003-38293.


Purpose: Biliary Hypoplasia (BH), characterised by a small ductal system and reduction in the number of interlobular bile ducts, has a bad prognosis. It has been claimed that other treatment methods apart from liver transplantation are not effective. Seven patients with BH underwent tube cholecystostomy, decompression and saline irrigation of the biliary tree via tube cholecystostomy. We present our treatment method, together with the early and late biochemical and histopathological results of these patients.

Patients and methods: The records of seven patients with BH were reviewed retrospectively. BH was proved by operative cholangiography. Irrigation was performed intermittently with warm saline to the biliary tract via tube cholecystostomy over two to three months. SGOT, SGPT, alkaline phosphatase (AP) and bilirubin levels were evaluated preoperatively and postoperatively. Histopathological findings were also evaluated.

Results: Median age at operation was 46 days (range 20 - 90 days). There were six males and one female. Five patients recovered completely. There was a statistical difference between preoperative and postoperative SGOT, SGPT, AP, and bilirubin levels of patients who recovered (p < 0.05).

Conclusion: Similar to biliary atresia, many factors such as the patient's age, postoperative bilirubin level, histopathology of liver, treatment method, and cholangitis as a complication of the surgical procedure affect the prognosis of BH. Operation before the age of 70 days, normal bilirubin levels after operation, no cholangitis attack, intracellular and intracanalicular cholestasis, and mild mixed cellular infiltration are favourable factors. We believe that decompression and irrigation of the biliary tract is an effective treatment method for suitable cases of BH.

MeSH terms

  • Adult
  • Alanine Transaminase / blood
  • Aspartate Aminotransferases / blood
  • Bile Ducts / pathology*
  • Bilirubin / blood
  • Cholecystostomy*
  • Decompression, Surgical
  • Female
  • Humans
  • Liver / pathology
  • Male
  • Middle Aged
  • Retrospective Studies
  • Therapeutic Irrigation


  • Aspartate Aminotransferases
  • Alanine Transaminase
  • Bilirubin