What is endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)?

ERCP is a procedure that removes stones in the gallbladder.

An endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP) is a procedure that combines the use of a flexible, lighted scope (endoscope) with x-ray pictures to examine the tubes that drain the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. The endoscope is inserted through the mouth and gently moved down the throat into the esophagus, stomach, and duodenum (part of the small intestine) until it reaches the point where the ducts from the pancreas (pancreatic ducts) and gallbladder (bile ducts) drain into the duodenum.

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography is a test used to diagnose abdominal pain and to evaluate the ducts of the gallbladder, pancreas, and liver. This technology can even be used as an interventional technology to treat biliary obstructions and tumors of the bile duct, or to treat pain related to pancreatic cancer.

Like endoscopic ultrasound (EUS), endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is an outpatient procedure involving an endoscope—a long, thin, lighted tube passed through the mouth, through the stomach, and into the duodenum. To conduct the procedure, a tube called a catheter is threaded through the endoscope and directly into the pancreatic and bile ducts. Dye is injected through the catheter and into the ducts and then an X-ray is taken.

As with EUS, during the ERCP procedure, you will be positioned on your side and placed under heavy conscious sedation.

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What are the risks of an ERCP procedure?
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How is an ERCP performed?
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What happens before an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP)?
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