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What is an ERCP ?

What is an ERCP?

A: ERCP, or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, is a procedure used examine the openings of your bile or pancreatic ducts. An ERCP is done to help diagnose the ducts that drain the liver, gallbladder and pancreas in cases of persistent abdominal pain or jaundice, gallstones, problems with the bile duct or pancreas. It is also used to open a narrow duct or take a tisse sample or biopsy.

In an ERCP, a tube is passed down your throat, through your digestive tract to your small intestine. There in the small intestine, dye is injected into the duct being examined and X-rays are taken. Additionally, an ERCP can fix problems for example by removing a gallstone.


Depending on how you were effected by medications used in the ERCP, your doctor can discuss the results with you immediately following the exam.

Normal results show normal structure and size of bile ducts, pancreatic ducts and gallbladder as well as normal features and appearance of your stomach, esophagus and duodenum. Abnormal results occur when your bile ducts or pancreatic ducts are blocked or narrowed by gallstones, inflammation, scar tissue or cancer. Any inflammation, ulcers, infection or cancer indicate abnormal results.

ERCPs usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes. You will be in the recovery room 1 to 2 hours.

To learn about the role of ERCPs in potential cases of medical malpractice, read this Florida medical malpractice attorney article.

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