What is an ERCP?
An endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a procedure that incorporates upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy and X-ray to treat and diagnose issues of the liver, pancreas, gallbladder and bile ducts.
Common problems that are diagnosed and treated using an ERCP include:
- Bile duct problems such as cancer, strictures and stones.
- Gallbladder issues such as gallstones or cholecystitis.
- Pancreas problems like pancreatitis, pancreatic cancer or pancreatic cysts.
How is an ERCP Performed?
During an ERCP, you will be given general anesthesia. An endoscope will be placed into the mouth and through the esophagus and stomach to reach the upper part of the small intestine called the duodenum. A catheter is then slid through the endoscope until it reaches the pancreatic and/ or bile ducts. A special dye is injected through the catheter, and video gastrointestinal X-rays are taken to check for signs of problems. Different interventions can be performed, such as removal of stones in the bile duct, dilation strictures and cancers and placement of stents for bile drainage.
Following ERCP Testing
After your ERCP test, you will be taken to a recovery area while you wake up from anesthesia or sedation, after which you can return home. It is important that you have someone drive you home after your test. You may also experience temporary throat irritation; to help your throat to heal, you may need to eat soft foods for a day or two. Bloating and nausea are also common side-effects, though they should dissipate with time. Most patients are able to return to work or normal activities within a day, with the approval of their doctor.
How Do I Prepare for My Procedure?
Your doctor will provide you with special instructions on how to properly prepare for your ERCP. Generally, these instructions include:
Refraining from eating, drinking, chewing gum or smoking for at least 6 hours before your procedure.
- Speaking with your doctor regarding blood-thinning or diabetes medications.
- Informing your doctor if you might be pregnant.
- Alerting your doctor of any allergies, especially to IV contrast dyes.
- Arranging for someone to drive you home after the procedure.
Please do not hesitate to contact our office if you have any questions regarding your ERCP prep instructions. We want to ensure that you fully understand your instructions so that your test can be performed smoothly.
These people were all extremely professional and kind. The bedside manner from all staff was great and they were thorough with all information. Medical stuff is hard to deal with, but with people like this, the discomfort was eased. I highly recommend this office to anyone needing this type of help.Read All Reviews
The front staff was immediately attentive as soon as I walked in. The nurses and PAs were professional and very nice, and the doctors were even better. The procedure went smoothly and could not have gone better. Of course, having positive lab results makes it easier to post a glowing report but I got the impression that if I had been diagnosed differently, they would have taken care of me with the same kindness and dedication.Read All Reviews
Peter was very easy to talk to and he indicated that he understood my issues. He provided an expected solution. He was very efficient.Read All Reviews
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At South Denver GI, our team of physicians and advanced practice providers have the expertise to provide you with outstanding care. If you would like to learn more about Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) or need to schedule an appointment at our office, contact us today!
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