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Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

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Another minimally invasive procedure that helps diagnose problems in the gall bladder, bile ducts, liver and pancreas is performed at WakeMed. Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) uses an endoscope – a lighted thin tube with a camera on the end – to travel into the abdomen to view these organs and ducts.

How ERCP is Performed

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.

ERCP is also useful in diagnosing pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer and other abnormalities in the region.

Learn what to expect from Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography

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 gastroenterologists or colorectal surgeons.