Operable severe obstructive jaundice: How should we use pre-operative biliary drainage?
Obstructive jaundice is a common surgical problem, and surgery in jaundiced patients is associated with a higher risk of postoperative complications than surgery in non-jaundiced patients. However, the efficacy of pre-operative biliary drainage (PBD) for patients with obstructive jaundice remains controversial. Many studies have been unable to confirm the benefit of PBD and have suggested that it should not be performed routinely. While we agree that routine PBD is not recommended for all jaundiced patients, we believe that it is useful for certain subgroups; however, there are no clear guidelines regarding its application in these subgroups. We suggest that further large and detailed randomised control studies should focus on formulating codes and standards of PBD for patients with operable conditions causing severe obstructive jaundice.