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Percutaneous Transhepatic Cholangiography

Overview :

PTHC is performed in a hospital, doctor's office, or outpatient surgical or x-ray facility. The patient lies on a movable x-ray table and is given a local anesthetic. The patient will be told to hold his or her breath, and a doctor, nurse, or laboratory technician will inject a special dye into the liver as the patient exhales.

The patient may feel a twinge when the needle penetrates the liver, a pressure or fullness, or brief discomfort in the upper right side of the back. Hands and feet may become numb during the 30-60 minute procedure.

The x-ray table will be rotated several times during the test, and the patient helped to assume a variety of positions. A special x-ray machine called a fluoroscope will track the dye's movement through the bile ducts and show whether the fluid is moving freely or if its passage is obstructed.

PTHC costs about $1,600. The test may have to be repeated if the patient moves while x rays are being taken.

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