To compare clinical effectiveness of Viabil-covered stents versus uncovered metallic Wallstents, for palliation of malignant jaundice due to extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, 60 patients were enrolled in a prospective and randomized study. In half of the patients a bare Wallstent was used, and in the other half a Viabil biliary stent. Patients were followed up until death. Primary patency, survival, complication rates, and mean cost were calculated in both groups. Stent dysfunction occurred in 9 (30%) patients in the bare stent group after a mean period of 133.1 days and in 4 (13.3%) patients in the covered stent group after a mean of 179.5 days. The incidence of stent dysfunction was significantly lower in the covered stent group (P = 0.046). Tumor ingrowth occurred exclusively in the bare stent group (P = 0.007). Median survival was 180.5 days for the Wallstent and 243.5 days for the Viabil group (P = 0.039). Complications and mean cost were similar in the two groups. Viabil stent-grafts proved to be significantly superior to Wallstents for the palliation of malignant jaundice due to extrahepatic cholangiocarcinoma, with comparable cost and complication rates. Appropriate patient selection should be performed prior to stent placement.