What is ERCP?
ERCP, or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, examines the bile ducts, gallbladder, and pancreatic ducts. Bile is an alkaline fluid that aids in digestion of food. Bile ducts funnel bile from the liver to the gallbladder and small intestines. It is an endoscopic procedure in which an endoscope analyzes the bile ducts for stones, tumors, or narrowed regions. Patients are sedated during the procedure, while an endoscope is inserted into the mouth, and through the esophagus, until it reaches the uppermost part of the small intestine. A catheter is then inserted through the endoscope, and guided into the papilla, a diminutive duct located in between the liver and pancreas. The catheter releases a contrast solution for x-rays that helps gastroenterologists determine how bile ducts are functioning.
Who needs an ERCP?
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography is a treatment procedure for patients with jaundice (yellowing of the skin or whites of eyes) stomach/abdominal pain caused by pancreatic or bile duct issues.