Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) enables the physician to diagnose problems in the liver, gallbladder, bile ducts, and pancreas. ERCP is used primarily to diagnose and treat conditions of the bile ducts including gallstones, inflammatory strictures (scars), leaks (from trauma and surgery), and cancer.
ERCP combines the use of radiographic imaging and an endoscope, which is a flexible, lighted tube. Through it, the physician can see the inside of the stomach and duodenum, and inject contrast into the ducts in the biliary tree and pancreas so they can be visualized on the images. ERCP takes 30 minutes to 2 hours.
The pain medicine and sedative should keep you from feeling too much discomfort. After the procedure, you will need to stay at the hospital for 1 to 2 hours until the sedative wears off. The physician will make sure you do not have signs of complications before you leave.
Before the Procedure
Do not eat or drink anything after midnight the night before the procedure, or for 6 to 8 hours beforehand, depending on the time of your procedure.
After the Procedure
Please arrange for someone to take you home. You will not be allowed to drive due to the sedatives.