What is Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography?

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a test that uses a dye to highlight the drainage ducts in the liver, gallbladder, and pancreas. This test is oftentimes done to find the reason for chronic abdominal pain or jaundice and also to detect diseases of the liver, pancreas and bile ducts. At Blair Gastroenterology Associates, we specialize in diseases and disorders of the digestive system. If you need to speak to one of our experienced physicians about this test, be sure to contact us at your earliest convenience.

What to Expect During a Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography?

During an Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography a thin, flexible tube (endoscope) with a camera on the end is passed down your throat and into your small intestine. The dye enters the ducts through a small hollow tube (catheter) passed through the endoscope, and then X-rays are taken. Sometimes small tools are inserted through the tube to take a biopsy of an abnormal growth, open a narrowed bile duct, or even remove a gallstone.

Preparing for your Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography

You will be asked to stop eating and drinking food and water hours prior to your procedure to assure you have an empty stomach. You will also want to have an empty bladder. It is sometimes necessary for some patients to have to take antibiotics before the procedure. A local anesthetic is usually applied to your throat and you will be given a sedative so that you are more relaxed and comfortable. The test usually takes about 30 to 60 minutes and recovery time will be anywhere from one to two hours. You will want to arrange for someone to drive you home and will not be allowed to drive for 24 hours. You may experience some nausea or bloating and possibly even a sore throat after the procedure. If a biopsy has been taken, we will send it to a pathologist to have it examined and evaluated.