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Prior to the Procedure

  • You may be asked to stop taking aspirin, ibuprofen (Advil, Motrin), naproxen (Aleve, Naprosyn), clopidogrel (Plavix), warfarin (Coumadin) and other blood thinners.
  • Ask your doctor which drugs you should take on the day of the procedure.
  • Discuss any possible bleeding disorders or other medical conditions that you may have.
  • Let your doctor know if you have a cold, flu fever, herpes breakout or other illness prior to surgery. This may require that you reschedule your procedure.
  • Do not drink or eat anything after midnight on the day prior to your ERCP.

On the Day of the Procedure

  • Take the drugs your doctor told you to take with a small sip of water.
  • Your doctor or nurse will tell you when to arrive at the hospital.

After the Procedure

You will either go home the same day or stay overnight in the hospital, based on any treatments that your gastroenterologist performed.

Do not drive for the next 24 hours. You may feel full and pass gas for the first day.

Recovery: what to expect in the next few weeks

After the day of the procedure, you should be able to go back to work or school. If you had any biopsies, you may be advised not to lift heavy objects for the first few days.


What does the procedure involve?

Your throat will be numbed using an anesthetic spray. Under light sedation, the tube is inserted through the mouth and is guided down the esophagus to the stomach and duodenum (top of the small intestines). A small cannula will be threaded through the scope into the bile and pancreatic ducts. A contrast is released retrograde, meaning backwards, filling the region with a material that highlights these areas. X-rays are then taken of the ducts.

If a problem – such as a gallstone, growth, scar tissue or other issue causing an obstruction or narrowing – is found, it may be treated at the time of the procedure. In some cases, a metal or plastic stent may be inserted to provide support and open a narrowing in a duct.

How many incisions are made?

There are no incisions with this procedure.

How long do I stay in the hospital?

This is normally an outpatient procedure, but some patients may have to stay overnight for observation.

What is the recovery time?

You will probably want to rest for the next 24 hours. You can return to work or school on the day after the procedure.

Make an Appointment

If you or someone you care for is experiencing worrisome symptoms, we encourage you to make an appointment with one of our pediatric gastroenterologists, adult gastroenterologists or colorectal surgeons.