ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography)

What does the exam involve?
An ERCP uses x-ray films and is performed in an x-ray room.  The throat is anesthetized with a spray or solution, and you will be given IV sedation medicine. The endoscope is then gently inserted into the upper esophagus.  You will be able to breathe easily throughout the exam.  Dye is then injected into the bile duct and/or pancreatic duct and x-ray films are taken.  You will lie on your left side and then turn onto your stomach to allow complete visualization of the ducts.  If a gallstone is found, steps may be taken to remove it.  If the duct has become narrowed, an incision can be made using electrical heat to relieve the blockage.  It is possible to widen narrowed ducts and to place small tubing, called stents, in these areas to keep them open.  The exam takes from 20 to 40 minutes, after which you will be taken to the recovery area.

Who should have ERCP?

ERCP is used for:

  • Gallstones, which are trapped in the main bile duct

  • Blockage of the bile duct

  • Yellow jaundice, which turns the skin yellow and the urine dark

  • Undiagnosed upper-abdominal pain

  • Cancer of the bile ducts or pancreas

  • Pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas)

What can I do?

One of our gastroenterologists, Dr. Paul Oh, performs the ERCP procedure.
If you are interested in learning about this procedure or would like to schedule a consultation, please contact our office and one of our receptionists will be glad to schedule an appointment for you.  Our office number is (336) 538-2355.

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