ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram)
- An ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram) is a specialized exam used to look at the bile ducts and pancreas for diagnosis and treatment of numerous conditions including gallstones, pancreatitis, narrowing or growths within the bile ducts or the pancreatic duct. A specialized endoscopic is used in conjunction with X-rays to exam the bile ducts and pancreatic ducts.
- When you arrive at the endoscopy center or hospital, you will be greeted by the nursing staff who will review your medical history and will insert an IV. You will then have a chance to discuss any questions you have with your doctor before the procedure starts. Immediately before the procedure, you will be given sedative medications which will be administered by the anesthesia department. When you are adequately sedated, the scope will be passed to where the bile duct empties into the small intestine. A small, flexible tube is inserted in the bile duct (and/or pancreatic duct) and pictures are taken using X-rays. Further interventions may be performed depending on what is found during this initial exam. The procedure generally lasts 20-60 minutes and you will awaken in the recovery room. Your gastroenterologist will then review the endoscopic findings with you and may make new treatment recommendations. You are permitted to return to work and all normal activities the following day.
- ERCP is a safe procedure. There is a 5-10% risk of pancreatitis and rarely may be severe enough require hospitalization. Other rare complications include perforation (puncture) of the lining of the esophagus, stomach, or duodenum which may require surgery to repair, bleeding, pneumonia, and cardiac complications related to the anesthesia. You will have time to review the risks and benefits of the procedure with your physician both at your initial office visit and immediately before the endoscopy. If biopsies were obtained during procedure, you are asked to call the office in approximately one week to review the biopsy results and for further planned follow-up care.