Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology
Interventional Radiology - Original Article

Percutaneous endobiliary forceps biopsy of biliary strictures for histopathologic examination


Department of Diagnostic and Interventional Radiology, University-Hospital of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany


Department of Internal Medicine II, Division of Hepatology, University-Hospital of Würzburg, Würzburg, Germany

Diagn Interv Radiol 2020; 26: 339-344
DOI: 10.5152/dir.2020.19329
Read: 1418 Downloads: 524 Published: 25 November 2019


We aimed to investigate the feasibility, accuracy and safety of percutaneous endobiliary cholangio-forceps biopsy of biliary strictures in our institution.



A total of 13 percutaneous transhepatic endobiliary biopsies (7 men and 6 women, mean age 66.85±16.76 years) were performed between January 2015 and March 2019 using a transluminal forceps biopsy device. Technical success, rate of complications, number of biopsy specimens, procedure and fluoroscopy time, mean radiation exposure were evaluated; sensitivity and accuracy were calculated.



Technical success, i.e., acquisition of at least three (median, 3.00; range, 3–5) macroscopic representative samples, could be achieved in all 13 biopsies. Access was gained via the right liver lobe in 12 of 13 cases (92.3%). All patients presented blood work indicative of cholestasis prior the intervention, with mean bilirubin 4.72±3.72 µmol/L, mean γ-glutamyl transferase 574.16 ± 360.92 IU/L, and median alkaline phosphatase 407 IU/L (165–1366 IU/L). In 12 of 13 cases (92.3%), biopsied material was sufficient for the pathologist to make a histopathologic diagnosis.  Analysis revealed cases of malignancy in eight of 13 cases (61.5%), all of which turned out to be cases of cholangiocarcinoma. In four benign cases (30.8%), diagnosis was considered to be confirmed by further imaging or clinical follow-ups, which showed no signs of progressive disease. There was one case (7.7%) of a false-negative result with proof of malignancy in subsequent surgical tissue extraction. A calculation of diagnostic performance yielded a sensitivity rate of 88.9% and an accuracy rate of 92.3%. There was one case of minor and one case of major complication in our study collective, leading to an overall complication rate of 15.4%.



Percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage (PTBD)-based forceps biopsy via the transhepatic drainage tract in patients with biliary obstruction of unknown origin is a technically feasible and safe technique with good diagnostic value rates. The procedure should be considered in patients not suitable for endoscopic strategies with indication for establishment of PTBD.


You may cite this article as: Augustin AM, Steingrüber M, Fluck F, Goetze O, Bley TA, Kickuth R. Percutaneous endobiliary forceps biopsy of biliary strictures for histopathologic examination. Diagn Interv Radiol 2020; 26:339–344.

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