Background and aim While many studies have discussed the different cannulation techniques used in patients with difficult biliary access, no previous meta-analyses have compared transpancreatic sphincterotomy (TPS) to other advanced techniques. Therefore, we aimed to identify all studies comparing the efficacy and adverse event rates of TPS with needle-knife precut papillotomy (NKPP), the most commonly used technique, and to perform a meta-analysis. Methods The Embase, PubMed, and Cochrane databases were searched for trials comparing the outcomes of TPS with NKPP up till December 2016.A meta-analysis focusing on outcome (cannulation success, post-endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) pancreatitis (PEP), post-procedural bleeding, and total adverse events) was performed. The population, intervention, comparison, outcome (PICO) format was used to compare these cannulation approaches. Five prospective and eight retrospective studies were included in our meta-analysis. Results NKPP has a significantly lower success rate (odds ratio [OR] 0.50, P= 0.046; relative risk [RR] 0.92, P =0.03) and a higher rate of bleeding complications (OR 2.24, P =0.02; RR 2.18, P =0.02) than TPS.However, no significant differences were found in PEP (OR 0.79, P =0.24; RR 0.80, P =0.19), perforation (risk difference [RD] 0.01, P =0.23), or total complication rates (OR 1.22, P =0.44; RR 1.17, P =0.47). Conclusion While TPS has a higher success rate in difficult biliary access and causes less bleeding than NKPP, there are no differences in PEP, perforation, or total complication rates between the two approaches. We conclude that TPS, in the hands of expert endoscopists, is a safe procedure, which should be used more widely in patients with difficult biliary access.
ASJC Scopus subject areas