Spontaneous biliary perforation in infancy: Management strategies and outcomes

Cerine Jeanty, S. Christopher Derderian, Shinjiro Hirose, Hanmin Lee, Benjamin E. Padilla

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

12 Scopus citations


Purpose Infantile spontaneous biliary perforation is rare with variable management strategies ranging from nonoperative treatment to complex operations such as biliary-enteric reconstruction. Biliary fistula and portal vein thrombosis are known complications, though outcomes are poorly defined. Methods We assessed the incidence of spontaneous biliary perforation in infants < 1 year old using a population database. Next, we describe 4 patients treated at our institution and review all reported cases within the past 25 years. Results The incidence of spontaneous biliary perforation is 1.5 in 1,000,000 live births. Over the past 25 years, 90 cases were reported, over half of which were initially managed with a surgical drainage procedure. The most common reason for failure of this strategy was CBD obstruction. Our 4 patients were successfully managed without biliary reconstruction despite 2 presenting with CBD obstruction. Reported complications occurred in 22% of patients, most frequently biliary fistula requiring delayed biliary reconstruction. Conclusions Surgical drainage is an effective method for treatment of infantile spontaneous biliary perforation; however a persistent biliary fistula should prompt evaluation for distal CBD obstruction. Though biliary-enteric anastomosis is the historic procedure of choice for persistent fistula, with improvements in endoscopic and percutaneous treatment, extensive biliary reconstruction may be avoided in the future.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)1137-1141
Number of pages5
JournalJournal of Pediatric Surgery
Issue number7
StatePublished - Jan 1 2015


  • Common bile duct perforation
  • Gallbladder perforation
  • Spontaneous biliary perforation in infants

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Surgery
  • Pediatrics, Perinatology, and Child Health


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