Performed during surgery for gallbladder removal, this is an effective intraoperative radiographic test to look for either blockage or leakage in the biliary tree.
This test may be performed prior to removing the gallbladder, or at any time a problem is suspected. A tiny catheter is threaded through a small incision in the cystic duct. Dye is injected into the biliary tract and x-rays are taken, allowing the surgeon to see which ducts are patent. Voids represent stones or tumors, and extravasation represents a leak in the system.
While this test is very reliable in the case of a retained stone or suspected damage, the outcome in patients having routine intraoperative cholangiography without apparent complication is the same as those in whom the test was not performed.