Imaging Biliary Strictures—A Pictorial Review

Authors: Sushilkumar K. Sonavane, MD, Christine O. Menias, MD


The diagnosis of biliary diseases may be delayed or missed because of an unpredictable clinical course and presentation. Some biliary diseases carry the risk of morbidity and mortality and are difficult to treat. The purpose of this article is to revisit the various causes and the appearances of biliary strictures on different imaging modalities and to emphasize the role of magnetic resonance imaging (MRI) with magnetic resonance cholangiopancreatography (MRCP) in their evaluation compared with endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. MRI with MRCP is advantageous to endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography for being a 1-stop shop to provide biliary, soft tissue, and vascular information that is helpful for planning intervention or surgery. Thus it serves as a superb imaging modality for the evaluation of biliary strictures.