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Cholangiography for bile duct cancer

What is cholangiography?

A cholangiogram is an imaging test specifically designed to identify abnormalities in the bile ducts such as a block, narrowing or dilation (widening) of the bile duct.

For this procedure, a contrast dye is injected into the body, and then X-rays are taken to reveal any bile duct obstructions.

Cholangiography for bile duct cancer

There are a few different types of cholangiography procedures that might be used in diagnosing bile duct cancer:

  • Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP): This uses a procedure similar to endoscopic ultrasound to reach the bile or pancreatic duct where X-ray images are taken to recognize the problems in the bile duct. The ERCP procedure may be used to obtain biopsies of tissue or fluid, or to place stents in the bile duct to keep it open.
  • Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiography (PTC): This method uses a thin, hollow needle to gain access to the bile duct through the skin. X-ray images are taken when the needle passes through the bile ducts. Similar to ERCP, this procedure is used to perform biopsies and place stents in the bile duct.
  • Magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP): The procedure for an MRCP is similar to the standard MRI scans and is a less invasive way to image the bile ducts than ERCP.
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