Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreatography, also known as ECRP, is a procedure that allows your Arlington gastroenterologist to examine the pancreatic and bile ducts. During the test, a flexible tube with a light on the end (an endoscope) is placed through your mouth and into your stomach and top part of the small intestine. A dye is then injected and X-rays are taken in order to give your doctor a more detailed look at the ducts of the pancreas and liver.
While this procedure is oftentimes used to diagnose problems, it is more commonly used in cases where a specific treatment can be delivered during the test.
Reasons for an ERCP
ECRP is typically used when a gastroenterologist suspects a patient’s bile or pancreatic ducts may be blocked due to the following:
- Inflammation due to trauma or illness
- Gallstones that become stuck in the ducts
- Sphincters (or valves) in the ducts that cannot open properly
- Scarring of the ducts (sclerosis)
- Buildups of fluid and tissue debris
The X-rays are used to look for blockages and leakage of the bile into the abdominal cavity. This procedure may also be used to locate and remove gallstones in the bile duct, check for certain types of cancer or cirrhosis of the liver, evaluate jaundice, and look into the causes of other types of abdominal pain.
Before the Procedure
A patient will be required to refrain from eating or drinking up to 8 hours before the procedure. Smoking and chewing gum are also prohibited during this time. As always, patients should inform the medical staff about about all medications they are taking as well as any allergies to medications.
What to Expect
This is an outpatient procedure that requires patients to lie on their back or side on an X-ray table. Your Arlington, Texas gastroenterologist will then insert an endoscope down the esophagus, through the stomach, and into the top part of the stomach. Video is then transmitted to a computer screen within the doctor’s view. Air will be pumped through the endoscope to inflate the stomach and intestine, allowing the gastroenterologist to better view the area.
You will be required to have someone pick you up, as driving is prohibited for 12 to 24 hours after the procedure to allow the sedatives time to ear off.