Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

ERCP or Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreatography is a procedure performed to examine the bile ducts or pancreas for anomalies and pancreatic diseases. It helps to give surgeons deeper insights into whether pancreatic surgery is needed and lasts for about an hour.

This procedure is commonly performed to diagnose diseases connected to weight loss, pain in the abdomen and jaundice. It can also be done to remove bile duct stones, address complications from gallbladder surgery and diagnose both cancerous and non-cancerous tumours.

 

How is it performed?

 

  • The procedure begins by sedating the patient with a local anaesthetic in the throat. The patient will also be given medication through an IV (intravenous) needle in the arm to keep them relaxed.
  • The patient will then be asked to lie down on an X-ray table.
  • An endoscope, which is a bendable tube with a camera head and light, will be inserted into the oesophagus until it reaches the stomach and the first part of the small intestine (duodenum). The duodenum is then inflated with air passed through the endoscope for clear imagery.
  • The surgeon uses the video output of the endoscope to identify a small opening in the duodenum which is known as an ampulla.
  • Once the ampulla is detected, a plastic tube is inserted through the endoscope into the ampulla.
  • A liquid dye is inserted into the plastic tube to create a contrast and highlight the plastic tube. An x-ray is then taken to examine the ducts of the liver and pancreas.

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