Twenty-five of 38 patients with sclerosing cholangitis underwent operative therapy at our institution. Seven patients with primarily extrahepatic obstruction had biliary bypass procedures and maintained normal liver function for 1 to 96 months. Biliary procedures were performed in 11 patients with combined intrahepatic and extrahepatic disease. Seven patients underwent subsequent liver transplantation because of deteriorating hepatic function, and two patients died before transplantation could be performed. Although there were no significant differences in outcome of liver transplantation whether or not a biliary procedure had been performed previously, previous biliary tract procedures influenced the type of biliary reconstruction performed, and two complications occurred as direct results of prior operations. Nontransplant procedures should be restricted to those patients with primarily extrahepatic obstruction, whereas liver transplantation should be considered the initial procedure of choice for patients with diffuse sclerosing cholangitis.
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