ERCP

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ERCP, or Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio Pancreatography, is a procedure that uses both an endoscopy and fluoroscopy to help detect and diagnose certain problems affecting the GI tract.

The ERCP procedure is commonly performed if the bile ducts in the pancreas are blocked by:

  • Tumors
  • Gallstones
  • Scarring
  • Other conditions causing the ducts to narrow

How to Prepare for the Procedure

Please avoid drinking or eating anything four to six hour before the procedure. Also, please inform us of any allergies you may have or medications you are currently taking so we can determine if any adjustments need to be made.

What to Expect During the Procedure

We will use a sedative to help you relax during your procedure. In some instances, a local anesthetic will be sprayed into the back of your throat to reduce discomfort as the endoscope is passed through your throat.

The procedure is relatively pain-free, but you may experience some bloating as air is being passed through the tube to help advance the scope.

Once the tube reaches the duodenum, a small tube called a cannula, is passed through the endoscope to inject a dye backwards into the pancreatic duct. We will then take X-rays to see how the dye outlines the ducts and where/if any blockages are occurring. These images will assist your doctor in accurate diagnosis and treatment planning.

In some instances, we may be able to treat certain problems through ERCP, like removing a stone that is blocking the pancreatic duct.

What to Expect After the Procedure

Until your sedative wears off, you will remain under observation. In some cases, hospitalization may be necessary. Please have someone available to drive you home as you should avoid driving for 24 hours. Follow your doctor’s instructions as to when you are able to eat and drink fluids again. It usually will be within a few hours after the procedure.

Patients likely will experience bloating and cramping for a few hours following their appointment due to the air that was pushed through the endoscope. You may experience brief changes in your bowel habits, but if you notice black tarry stools or blood in your stools, please contact us. You should also call our office if you experience severe abdominal cramping, vomiting, dizziness and/or a fever of a 100 degrees or higher.