This procedure involves placing a small tube through the mouth into the small bowel to evaluate the pancreatic and biliary duct.
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a procedure that involves placing a small tube, called an endoscope, through the mouth and stomach into the small intestine. A thin tube is then placed through the endoscope into the duct that splits into the pancreatic and biliary ducts. Once there, a dye is injected and x-rays are taken of the duct being evaluated.
An ERCP may be recommended if you have abdominal pain, jaundice, fever, or problems with food absorption (malabsorption). Some of the problems may be due to:
Not everybody with symptoms of pancreatic disease needs an ERCP. Your healthcare provider may order an ERCP if he or she strongly suspects pancreatic disease and earlier diagnostic tests do not reveal the source of the problem.
Prior to the procedure, tell your healthcare provider about any medications you are taking (including over-the-counter medications and supplements). Ask about specific instructions you should follow before the procedure. These may include:
Do not forget to make arrangements for transportation to and from the facility and help at home while you recover.
An ERCP may be done at a facility that specializes in gastrointestinal procedures or at a hospital.
What should I ask my healthcare provider before having an ERCP?
After your ERCP, your healthcare provider should provide a description of any problems found during the procedure and what symptoms you should report. You should also understand all home care instructions (including medications and side effects) and follow-up plans.
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