Liver histology in benign biliary stricture: Fibrosis to cirrhosis . . . and reversal?

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Secondary biliary cirrhosis is a potential complication of post-cholecystectomy bile duct stricture (PCBDS). This study addresses the factors that determine the severity of pathological changes on liver biopsy and the correlation with long-term outcome following repair.


Liver biopsies obtained at surgery for repair of PCBDS in 71 patients were reviewed and pathological changes were scored from 0 to 3. Patients with fibrosis score 0–2 were categorized as the non-cirrhotic group and those with score 3 (secondary biliary cirrhosis) were categorized as the cirrhotic group. Clinical and biochemical parameters, stricture type and outcome were analyzed by univariate and multivariate analysis for correlation with degree of fibrosis. Follow-up liver biopsies (3–60 months) after stricture repair were obtained in five patients.


There were 58 patients in the non-cirrhotic group and 13 in the cirrhotic group. On univariate analysis, portal hypertension and prolonged injury-repair duration correlated with secondary biliary cirrhosis. Patients with a fair outcome in the cirrhotic group (4/13) had derangements in liver function tests but had patent biliary enteric anastomosis on evaluation. Of the five patients in whom liver biopsies were obtained at follow up, two had regression, two were static, and one had progression.


All patients with PCBDS had varying degrees of fibrosis. Prolonged injury-repair interval and portal hypertension were the important parameters correlating with secondary biliary cirrhosis. Early repair of biliary stricture is recommended to prevent liver fibrosis. A successful relief of biliary obstruction may halt and/or reverse pathological changes in the liver.

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