Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatogram – ERCP
An ERCP is a procedure that combines the use of endoscopy and fluoroscopy to diagnose and treat certain problems of the biliary or pancreatic ducts.
Through the endoscope, the physician can see the inside of the stomach and duodenum, and inject dyes into the ducts in the biliary tree and pancreas so they can be seen on x-rays.
If you have any questions prior to the procedure, please feel free to discuss them with the ERCP nurse or your physician before the examination begins.
What to Expect
The endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography is an outpatient procedure that should take an hour or two. You will be allowed to go home later the same day. IV sedatives are usually administered to help you remain calm during the procedure. Even though you will remain awake during the procedure, you probably will not remember it. The doctor will numb your throat with a special anesthetic spray and then insert an endoscope into your mouth and guide it through the esophagus and stomach until it reaches the duodenum or upper part of the small intestine. Some air will be pushed through the endoscope to make it easier to see the organs in the region.
A catheter will be slid into the endoscope until it reaches the pancreatic and bile ducts. Dye will be sent through the ducts and a fluoroscopy or a video x-ray will be taken to check for blockages or problems. If the doctor finds any problems, he can send tiny instruments through the endoscope. With these, he can break up or remove stones, place stents to open ducts, or remove tumors or take a tissue sample for a biopsy.