Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
This procedure is used to study the drainage tubes, or ducts, of the gallbladder, pancreas and liver. It may be used to identify and relieve obstructions of these ducts. It can also help diagnose diseases of the liver, biliary tree and pancreas. During this procedure, a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope is passed through the mouth, esophagus, stomach and the first part of the small bowel. Once the openings to the bile duct and pancreas are identified, a plastic tube called a catheter will be passed through the endoscope and into the ducts. A contrast dye is injected into the pancreatic or biliary ducts and X-rays are taken.
To prepare, do not eat or drink after midnight the night before your scheduled procedure. Notify your doctor if you have an allergy to iodine-containing drugs, which include contrast material.
Hospital outpatient procedure
Prior to the procedure, an intravenous line (IV) will be started. You will receive sedative medication to make you more comfortable. You will lie on your abdomen during the procedure.
ERCP is generally a well-tolerated procedure. Complications can occur, but they are uncommon. Potential complications are pancreatitis (inflammation or infection of the pancreas), infections, bowel perforation, bleeding and, rarely, death.
At home instructions
After the procedure, you will be observed until most of the effects of the sedation have worn off. You may experience some gas or bloating due to air introduced during the procedure. You cannot work or drive for the remainder of the day. Therefore, someone needs to take you home and stay with you for several hours after the procedure. You should contact your physician if you develop abdominal pain, vomiting or fever after the procedure.