What is ERCP?
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography is a study of the ducts that drain the liver and pancreas. The ones that drain the liver and gallbladder are called bile or biliary ducts. The one that drains the pancreas is called the pancreatic duct. The bile and pancreatic ducts join together just before they drain into the upper bowel, about 3 inches from the stomach. The drainage opening is called the papilla. The papilla is surrounded by a circular muscle, called the sphincter of Oddi.
ERCP is performed when X-ray contrast dye is injected into the bile duct, the pancreatic duct, or both. This contrast dye is squirted through a small tube called a catheter that fits through the ERCP endoscope. X-rays are taken during ERCP to get pictures of these ducts.
What can you expect before, during, and after my procedure?
You should not eat for at least 6 hours before the procedure and you should notifiy our office about medications that you take regularly and whether you have any allergies to medications or contrast material.
At the start of your procedure, you will have an intravenous needle placed in your arm so you can receive medicine during the procedure. You will be given sedatives that will make you comfortable during your ERCP.
The procedure is performed on a X-ray table. Once your ERCP is completed, you will go to a recovery area until the sedation effects reside. Some patients are admitted to the hospital for a day but many go home from the recovery unit. You should not drive a car for the rest of the day and arrange for someone to pick you up.