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Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

Doctor and Patient

Advanced Endoscopy for Pancreas, Gallbladder & Bile Duct Conditions

An ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) is an endoscopic procedure used to treat problems of the bile duct (biliary tree) or pancreatic duct.

ERCP often be a less invasive alternative to surgery to treat conditions such as:

  • Gallstones or pancreatic stones
  • A narrowed bile or pancreatic duct
  • Infections in the gallbladder or pancreas
  • Fluid that needs to be drained from these areas
  • A suspicious mass that needs to be biopsied
  • Pancreatitis, chronic or acute
  • Bile duct leaks

What ERCP Involves

ERCP requires fasting from food and drink for several hours beforehand. Some patients may need to stop taking certain medicines. The patient is sedated, and a gastroenterologist feeds an endoscope down the throat to the upper part of the small intestine (duodenum). A small amount of air is used to inflate the duodenum to make it easier for the doctor to see the area where the bile duct and pancreatic duct are located. However, the endoscope is too large to enter the bile and pancreatic ducts. So ERCP uses fluoroscopy, a type of X-ray that allows the doctor to see the duct and any blockages on a monitor.

Uses of ERCP

  • Treatment of blocked ducts. A thin tube and wire from the tip of the endoscope fit inside the ducts and are used to correct the problem. These instruments can dislodge stones or place a plastic or metal stent to open a narrowed duct.
  • Biopsy. ERCP can be used to take fluid or tissue samples for biopsy.
  • Endoscopic sphincterotomy. ERCP can help the doctor remove part of the valve between the bile and pancreatic ducts and small intestine (the sphincter of Oddi), so a gallstone or pancreatic stone can pass through.

Risks Associated with ERCP

The risks of ERCP are similar to those of other endoscopic procedures and include a small risk for bleeding, tearing of the digestive tract and infection. Also, inflammation of the pancreas (pancreatitis) or gallbladder (cholecystitis) can occur. These risks are decreased when receiving care from a physician highly experienced in ERCP like the ones at the Digestive Health Institute.

To schedule an ERCP at DHI, call us at (813) 615-7557.

SURGICAL CONSULTATIONS FOR DIGESTIVE CANCER Without The Wait

APPOINTMENTS WITHIN 5 DAYS FOR PATIENTS WITH CANCER

At DHI, we know that after being diagnosed with cancer, patients want and often need to begin treatment quickly. So we make it a priority to offer appointments for cancer surgery consultations within 5 business days, and often earlier. Our surgeons will make themselves available to see you right away, even for a second opinion.

Patients who are newly diagnosed with cancer, or have just found out they have cancer recurrence, qualify for this priority access. Our surgeons will make themselves available to see you right away, even for a second opinion. We want to help you start your treatment as soon as possible.

If you have been diagnosed with a cancer of the digestive system, don’t wait.
Call the Digestive Health Institute at (813) 615-7440.

Learn more about our Surgical Cancer Care program.

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