Preoperative assessment of hilar cholangiocarcinoma by multidetector row computed tomography

Michiaki Unno, Tadayuki Okumoto, Yu Katayose, Toshiki Rikiyama, Akihiro Sato, Fuyuhiko Motoi, Masaya Oikawa, Shinichi Egawa, Tadashi Ishibashi

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

68 Citations (Scopus)


Background/Purpose: Hilar cholangiocarcinoma is the one of the most difficult carcinomas to diagnose because of the localization of the main tumor at the hepatic hilus, and because of the complex anatomy of the biliary, artery, and portal systems. To perform a curative operation, it is important to evaluate the extent of carcinoma and the resectability. Hilar cholangiocarcinoma often extends along the axis of the bile duct. Percutaneous transhepatic cholangiogaraphy (PTC) and/or endoscopic retrograde cholangiography (ERC) are usually performed to diagnose the extent of the hilar cholangiocarcinoma. However, computed tomography (CT) was thought not to be useful because its resolution is poor. Now that multidetector row CT (MDCT) and high-performance imaging systems are available, the diagnostic strategy for hilar cholangiocarcinoma has changed. Methods: In this study, we analyzed the preoperative diagnostic imaging of 24 consecutive patients whose hilar cholangiocarcinoma was confirmed by histopathological examination. All patients were submitted to 16-channel MDCT, except for those with an allergy to iodine contrast medium. The data obtained from MDCT were analyzed and checked by both radiologists and surgeons, using multiplanar reconstruction (MPR) images. Results: The accuracy of diagnosis of horizontal spreading was 80.9% and that of vertical spreading was 100%. However, the sensitivity for lymph node metastasis was insufficient. Based on the data from MDCT and other examinations, all patients underwent surgery. Curative operation was performed in 15 patients (62.5%). Conclusions: Our results indicate that 16-channel MDCT is reliable for the diagnosis of hilar cholangiocarcinoma, especially prior to bile duct drainage. Thus, it is important to perform MDCT when patients with obstructive jaundice are encountered.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)434-440
Number of pages7
JournalJournal of Hepato-Biliary-Pancreatic Surgery
Issue number5
Publication statusPublished - 2007 Sep


  • Diagnostic imaging
  • Hilar cholangiocarcinoma
  • Multidetector row CT

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Hepatology


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