- Understanding Colon Cancer Screening
- Make the Best Choice for Your Endoscopic Procedure
- Understanding Upper Endoscopy
- Understanding Endoscopic Ultrasonography
- Understanding Colonoscopy
- Understanding Flexible Sigmoidoscopy
- Understanding Colon Polyps and Their Treatment
- Understanding Esophageal Dilation
- Understanding Capsule Endoscopy
- Understanding Percutaneous Endoscopic Gastrostomy
- Ensuring the Safety of Your Endoscopic Procedure
- Understanding Diverticulosis
- Understanding Esophageal Testing or Manometry
- Understanding Minor Rectal Bleeding
- Understanding Bowel Preparation
- Understanding Barrett’s Esophagus
- Understanding Gastroesophageal Reflux Disease
This information was developed by the Publications Committee of the American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy (ASGE). For more information about ASGE, visit www.asge.org.
This information is intended only to provide general guidance. It does not provide definitive medical advice. It is important that you consult your doctor about your specific condition.
What is ERCP?
How is ERCP performed?
During ERCP, your doctor will pass an endoscope through your mouth, esophagus and stomach into the duodenum (first part of the small intestine). An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube that lets your doctor see inside your bowels. After your doctor sees the common opening to the ducts from the liver and pancreas, called the major duodenal papilla, your doctor will pass a narrow plastic tube called a catheter through the endoscope and into the ducts. Your doctor will inject a contrast material (dye) into the pancreatic or biliary ducts and will take X-rays.
What preparation is required?
You should fast for at least six hours (and preferably overnight) before the procedure to make sure you have an empty stomach, which is necessary for the best examination. Your doctor will give you precise instructions about how to prepare. You should talk to your doctor about medications you take regularly and any allergies you have to medications or to intravenous contrast material (dye).
What can I expect during ERCP?
Your doctor might apply a local anesthetic to your throat and/or give you a sedative to make you more comfortable. Your doctor might even ask an anesthesiologist to administer sedation if your procedure is complex or lengthy. Some patients also receive antibiotics before the procedure. You will lie on your abdomen on an X-ray table. The instrument does not interfere with breathing, but you might feel a bloating sensation because of the air introduced through the instrument.
What are possible complications of ERCP?
Some patients can have an adverse reaction to the sedative used. Sometimes the procedure cannot be completed for technical reasons. Risks vary, depending on why the test is performed, what is found during the procedure, what therapeutic intervention is undertaken and whether a patient has major medical problems. Patients undergoing therapeutic ERCP, such as for stone removal, face a higher risk of complications than patients undergoing diagnostic ERCP. Your doctor will discuss your likelihood of complications with you before you undergo the test.
What can I expect after ERCP?
Someone must accompany you home from the procedure because of the sedatives used during the examination. Even if you feel alert after the procedure, the sedatives can affect your judgment and reflexes for the rest of the day.
Important Reminder: This information is intended only to provide general guidance. It does not provide definitive medical advice. It is very important that you consult your doctor about your specific condition.
Copyright ©2010. American Society for Gastrointestinal Endoscopy. All rights reserved. This information may not be reproduced without express written permission by ASGE. For permission requests, please contact the ASGE Communications Department at 630-673-0600.