PURPOSE: To evaluate usefulness of a manipulation catheter in percutaneous transhepatic biliary drainage (PTBD). MATERIALS AND METHODS: A biliary manipulation catheter was used for the aspiration of retained bile and lesion crossing during an initial PTBD in 91 consecutive patients over a 6 month period. This catheter allowed for a 0.035 inch guide wire made of 5F short steel braided polyurethane. The terminal 1 cm segment was tapered and 45degrees angulated. Two side holes were made in the terminal segment to facilitate the aspiration of bile. The safety of this procedure was evaluated based on whether the catheters caused complications during insertion and manipulation, and whether cholangitis was aggravated after the procedure. Effectiveness of the procedure was evaluated based on the ability to aspirate retained bile and to cross the lesion. RESULTS: Both the insertion of a 0.035 inch hydrophilic guide wire and aspiration of sufficient retained bile were successful with the catheter. Crossing the common bile duct (CBD) lesion had a 98.1% success rate during the initial PTBD. Crossing the hilar obstruction lesion was had a 94.7% success rate to the CBD and 92.1% to the contralateral lobe. Cholangitis improved in 97% of cases, and aggravated transiently in only 3% of cases after PTBD. CONCLUSION: A biliary manipulation catheter should be considered as a useful tool for a safe and effective PTBD, attributed to the facilitation of bile aspiration and lesion crossing.