ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) is used to identify issues with the bile ducts or pancreas. Disorders in the bile ducts, gallbladder or pancreas often result from diet, the environment or are hereditary and develop into a variety of symptoms or diseases.

ERCP is often used to check for the following:

  • Gallstones
  • Blockage of the bile duct
  • Yellow jaundice
  • Undiagnosed upper-abdominal pain
  • Cancer of the bile ducts or pancreas
  • Pancreatitis

How to Prepare for the Procedure:

Please do not eat or drink anything 8 hours prior to the procedure. Always tell your physician what medications you are taking — especially those that may affect blood clotting — or if you have any medical conditions like diabetes, pregnancy, lung or heart conditions. Also, be sure to share any allergies with your physician. Please also plan to have someone drive you home.

What to Expect During the Procedure:

An ERCP is fairly simple and usually takes only 20 to 40 minutes. Your physician will numb your throat and give you a mild sedative. The endoscope is then gently inserted into the upper esophagus. A thin tube is then inserted through the endoscope into the main bile duct entering the duodenum. Dye is injected into this bile duct and/or pancreas duct and X-rays are taken.