GI Procedures FAQs

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography


What is endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)?

ERCP is an endoscopic procedure used to take radiographic pictures of the Bile duct, pancreas and gall bladder. Treatment can also be done at the same time.

When is the ERCP procedure necessary?

Usually an ERCP is given for one of these reasons:

  • Abnormal liver test/ Jaundice.
  • Abdominal pain related to pancreas and bile duct.
  • Gallstones
  • Bile duct or pancreatic tumors.

 How do you prepare for an ERCP procedure?

Fasting is required, do not eat or drink after midnight prior to the test. Make sure to let your physician know all the medications you are taking especially blood thinners. Antibiotics may be required at the time of the procedure.

 How is ERCP performed?

This procedure is done in a hospital setting. Patients are given sedation through IV so there is no discomfort during the procedure.  While lying on your abdomen, a small tube is passed through your mouth into the small bowel. Using a small catheter, dye is injected into the bile duct or the pancreatic duct and X rays are taken. During the procedure your physician may decide to obtain biopsies/brushings / remove gallstones or place a stent to drain the bile duct or pancreas. 

What is the recovery for the Procedure?

After the procedure it will take about 60 minutes for sedation medication to wear off.  Sore throat and bloating are normal right after the procedure. You may be observed for 3-4hrs after the procedure before you are discharged home.

 What are the risks of the Procedure?

Risks and benefits have to be evaluated prior to the procedure. Risks include bleeding, infection, pancreatitis (inflammation of pancreas) and rarely perforation (hole in the bowel).

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