ERCP or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography is a procedure performed at a hospital. The liver, gallbladder and pancreas share ducts or drainage routes into the small intestine. An ERCP combines the use of x-rays and endoscopy to enter the ducts and diagnose and treat conditions related to the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts or pancreas. These conditions include gallstones, scarring, leaks and cancer.
After receiving sedation through an IV, a flexible, lighted instrument is passed through the mouth, esophagus, and stomach into the small intestine. After reaching the small intestine, the doctor will find the opening to the ducts and will pass a narrow plastic tube, or catheter, through the endoscope and into the ducts. Contrast material can then be injected into the ducts to obtain x-ray images and other maneuvers can then be performed to diagnose or treat disorders. The examination will last between 30-90 minutes.
After your ERCP
After the examination, you will be observed in the recovery area. You may generally go home the same day and resume your diet as instructed. You will need a ride home and you will not be able to drive for the rest of the day.
Preparing for your ERCP
In order to prepare for the test, you will be asked to not eat or drink anything for six hours prior to the examination. You may be asked to stop certain medications prior to the examination.