Biliary reconstruction remains common in postoperative complications after liver transplantation. A systematic search was conducted on the PubMed database and 61 studies of retrospective or prospective institutional data were eligible for this review. The study comprised a total of 14,359 liver transplantations. The overall incidence of biliary stricture was 13%; 12% among deceased donor liver transplantation (DDLT) patients and 19% among living donor liver transplantation (LDLT) recipients. The overall incidence of biliary leakage was 8.2%, 7.8% among DDLT patients and 9.5% among LDLT recipients. An endoscopic strategy is the first choice for biliary complications; 83% of patients with biliary stricture were treated by endoscopic modalities with a success rate of 57% and 38% of patients with leakage were indicated for endoscopic biliary drainage. T-tube placement was not performed in 82% of duct-to-duct reconstruction. The incidence of biliary stricture was 10% with a T-tube and 13% without a T-tube and the incidence of leakage was 5% with a T-tube and 6% without a T-tube. A preceding bile leak and LDLT procedure are accepted risk factors for anastomotic stricture. Biliary complications remain common, which requires further investigation and the refinement of reconstruction techniques and management strategies.
© 2010 The Authors. Transplant International © 2010 European Society for Organ Transplantation.