The Gastroenterology Group of Northern New Jersey

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

What is ERCP?

"Endoscopic" - Use of an endoscope.
"Retrograde" - Injection of dye into the bile ducts in a direction against the normal flow of bile down the ducts.
"Cholangiopancreatography" - Visualization of the bile ducts (cholangio) and pancreas (pancreato).

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a technique that enables provider to examine the pancreatic and bile ducts using X-Ray.

What does it Detect?

ERCP is used to determine:

  • Gallstones - Stones that generally form in Gall (bile duct)
  • Jaundice - skin colour turns yellow and urine dark.
  • Pancreatitis - inflammation of the pancreas.
  • Abdominal pain
  • Cancer of Bile ducts or pancreas

How is ERCP performed?

ERCP is done to diagnose and treat patients suffering from disorders of liver,bile ducts,pancreas & gallbladder.It is performed in an X-Ray Room
The patient is asked to lie on the left side and a sedative is generally given to patient.Then, a endoscope is inserted into esophagus till the common bile duct. Now, the patient is turned to lie flat and provider passes a plastic tube into the opening of common bile duct.

Then a dye is injected into the common bile duct.A Radiologists will take X-Rays images.If a gallstone is found, a very small incision is given at the opening of the bile duct. This causes widening of the opening. The blocked stone now is easily removed.
If the duct has become narrowed. Biopsies i.e small tissue samples can be taken for further examination.
This procedure takes around 20 to 45 minutes.

Preparation Before the ERCP?

  • To ensure a accurate procedure the patient is not allowed to eat or drink anything for atleast 8 hours prior to the procedure.
  • You need to inform your doctor, if you have any allergies.(allergies to contrast dyes,iodine etc.)
  • A friend or family member must accompany you because you will not be allowed to drive after procedure.
  • Patient should consult their doctor regarding their medications.

After the ERCP?

  • Patients will not be able to drive after procedure because of the sedation during test.
  • Patients should not operate any machinery for atleast 8 hours after procedure.
  • If a patient suffers from any pain or develops any unusual symptoms,it should be reported to your physician immediately.