ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreatography) Patient Information (FAQs)

ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreatography) Patient Information (FAQs)

The full form of ERCP is endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography. It is a procedure that determines and helps us scan and visualize the internal structure of the duodenum. It is performed by inserting the duodenoscope (having the camera and light source on a pen like flexible tube) through the mouth.

The duodenoscope passes through the stomach and enter the duodenum, where it is used to determine the structure of the opening of the bile duct and the pancreatic ducts. A plastic catheter is then passed into the bile ducts and pancreatic ducts and the contrast agent is suitably injected to these parts. X—ray imaging of the highlighted portions is then recorded for clear understanding of the internal structure.

During ERCP you will be administered a mild sedative and made to sit or lie down before the duodenoscope is inserted in the mouth. After the equipment in introduced into the body and the necessary contrast agent has been administered, the X-rays of the upper abdomen are taken and you are asked to shift into suitable positions to allow better X-ray imaging of your upper abdomen. Once the X-rays are completed, any secondary procedure like a biopsy or electrocauter is used if required. After the procedure is complete, the equipment is withdrawn from the body and you are shifted to the recovery room to regain normal consciousness.

ERCP is an important procedure that helps you understand the health of organs like the liver, gall bladder, bile ducts, stomach, pancreas, pancreatic ducts, the duodenum and the papilla .ERCP is the best way to find out the exact position, stage and cure of the abnormality.

Conditions studied by ERCP include

  • Presence of gall stones in bile ducts,
  • Presence of tumour in the pancreas, and
  • Presence of any secondary growth in the internal lining of the stomach or duodenum.
  • Presence of obstructions in bile or pancreatic ducts,


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