Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography ( ERCP) is a procedure done to examine and diagnose problems in the liver, gall bladder, bile and pancreatic ducts using an endoscope and X rays . The liver is the largest internal organ that has various functions. One of its function is production of liquid called bile which helps with digestion. The gallbladder is a small, pear-shaped organ that stores the bile until it is used for digestion. The bile ducts are tubes that carry bile from the liver to the gallbladder and small intestine. These ducts are sometimes called the biliary tree. The pancreas is a gland that produces enzymes needed for digestion.
ERCP may be used evaluate the reason for jaundice which could be due an obstructed bile stone, upper abdominal pain, and unexplained weight loss. The most common indication for ERCP is obstruction or blockage of the ducts either bile duct or pancreatic ducts, most often due to gall stones.
You will not be able to eat or drink anything after midnight prior to the procedure. Fasting is recommended for at least 6-8 hours. Talk to your physician regarding your allergies especially to iodine, which is in the dye. You must also arrange for someone to take you home. You will not be allowed to drive , since you were given sedatives during the procedure.
For the procedure, you will be placed on your left side on an examining table and the physician will give you medications to numb the back of your throat and a sedative to help you relax during the exam. You will swallow the endoscope, and the physician will then guide the scope through your esophagus, stomach, and duodenum until it reaches the spot where the ducts of the biliary tree and pancreas open into the duodenum. The physician may ask you to lie flat on your stomach, and he will pass a small plastic tube through the scope through which he will inject a dye into the ducts to make them show up clearly on x-rays. A radiographer will begin taking x-rays as soon as the dye is injected.
During the exam if he sees any gallstones or narrowing of the ducts, he will insert instruments into the scope to remove or work around the obstruction. He might also place stents to release the obstruction. During this procedure he may also be able to take a small sample of the tissue (biopsy) for further testing.
Complications are rare, but can occur. Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), infection, bleeding, and perforation of the duodenum are some possible complications that can be associated with an ERCP.
Results will be discussed with you and your family by your physician after the procedure. The results of the biopsy might take few days and you might need to make an appointment with GIO care for results and procedure follow up. If you had stent placed during the procedure your physician will discuss with you when it needs to be removed.
Call Gastroenterology Institute Of Orlando,at 407-201-3686 to learn more about treatment!