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Editor-In-Chief: C. Michael Gibson, M.S., M.D. [1]

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A percutaneous transhepatic cholangiogram (PTCA) is an x-ray of the bile ducts, the tubes that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder and small intestine.

The test is performed in a radiology department by a radiologist.

You will be asked to lie on your back on the x-ray table. The health care provider will clean the upper right side of your belly area and then apply a numbing medicine.

X-rays are used to help the health care provider locate your liver and bile ducts. A long, thin, flexible needle is then inserted through the skin into the liver. The health care provider injects dye, called contrast medium, into the bile ducts. Contrast helps highlight certain areas they can be seen better. More x-rays are taken as the dye flows through the bile ducts into the small intestine. This can be seen on a nearby video monitor.