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What Is ERCP?

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a procedure that uses endoscopy—a long, flexible, lighted tube along with fluoroscopy to diagnose and treat abnormalities within the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, and pancreas. It is primarily carried out by gastroenterologists who are highly skilled and specially qualified.

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What Is The Use Of ERCP?

The ERCP procedure is used for both diagnostic and therapeutic purposes.

Diagnostic


  • To identify gallstones in the bile duct
  • To indeterminate biliary strictures and confirm bile duct tumors
  • To identify trauma to the bile ducts or iatrogenic injury
  • To identify dysfunction of the Oddi Sphincter
  • To identify a pancreatic tumor, if the bile duct is obstructed or because of jaundice.

Surgical


  • To remove bile duct stone
  • Performs sphincterotomy to improve the drainage or to remove stones in the ducts
  • Inserts stents to circumvent strictures or narrowed sections of the bile or pancreatic ducts
  • Conducting tissue sampling is to obtain tissue samples from the papilla, as well as the bile and pancreatic ducts.
  • Performing balloon dilation includes inflating to stretch out the narrowing area of your bile ducts
Procedure

Before the procedure, the doctor will ask you about all your allergies, health history, prescribed medicines, and other supplements you have been taking regularly. You may be asked to briefly stop taking them by your doctor.

During an ERCP, you will be sedated with an intravenous (IV) needle into your arms to help you relax and be comfortable. Your vitals will be monitored by the medical professionals.

The doctor will either spray anesthesia on the back of your throat or give you a liquid anesthetic to gargle. You may be given general anesthesia in some instances depending on your choice and discussion with the doctor.

The doctor will carefully feed the endoscope down your esophagus, through your stomach, and into your duodenum on the examining table. A video image will be sent to a monitor from a small camera attached to the endoscope. Air is pumped into your stomach and duodenum through the endoscope, making them easier to see. X-ray views will be acquired from various angles.

The tiny tube for dye injection will be moved to the pancreatic duct after X-rays of the biliary system are taken. X-rays will be taken after a contrast dye is injected into the pancreatic duct. While the X-rays are being taken, you may be requested to change positions once again

Time Taken For The Procedure

ERCP can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours. You will need to stay in the hospital for 1 to 2 hours after the surgery until the sedative wears off. Before you are discharged from the hospital, the doctor will check and make sure you don't have any signs of complications.

You may need to stay in the hospital overnight if any treatment is performed during the ERCP, such as the removal of a gallstone.

Preparation

For the treatment to be accurate and safe, your stomach and duodenum must've been empty for 6 to 8 hours before the surgery. Also, the doctor will want to know whether you have any allergies, particularly to iodine, which is present in the dye. You'll also need to make arrangements for someone to drive you home.

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