ERCP is short for endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. It is a procedure that looks at the bile ducts. It is done through an endoscope.
- Bile ducts are the tubes that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder and small intestine.
- ERCP is used to treat stones, tumors, or narrowed areas of the bile ducts.
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography; Papillotomy; Endoscopic sphincterotomy; ERCP
An intravenous (IV) line is placed in your arm. You will lie on your stomach or on your left side for the test.
- Medicines to relax or sedate you will be given through the IV.
- Sometimes, a spray to numb the throat is also used. A mouth guard will be placed in your mouth to protect your teeth. Dentures must be removed.
After the sedative takes effect, the endoscope is inserted through the mouth. It goes through the esophagus (food pipe) and stomach until it reaches the duodenum (the part of the small intestine that is closest to the stomach).
- You should not feel discomfort, and may have little memory of the test.
- You may gag as the tube is passed down your esophagus.
- You may feel stretching of the ducts as the scope is put in place.
A thin tube (catheter) is passed through the endoscope and inserted into the tubes (ducts) that lead to the pancreas and gallbladder. A special dye is injected into these ducts, and x-rays are taken. This helps the doctor see stones, tumors, and any areas that have become narrowed.
Special instruments can be placed through the endoscope and into the ducts.