ERCP stands for endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography. This procedure is used to view the common bile duct to help locate and treat blockages in the duct. It may also be used to find problems with the pancreas.
ERCP takes 20-90 minutes. You may be given medication through an IV to help you relax. Your throat is numbed. A thin tube (endoscope) is placed into your throat. The endoscope lets the doctor see the common bile duct on a video screen. A cut may be made where the common bile duct opens to the duodenum to make it easier to remove stones. As blockages are located and removed, x-rays are taken. Contrast dye is injected through a catheter to make the duct show up better on the x-rays.
Your doctor may discuss the test results with you right after the procedure. Alternatively, you may discuss the findings in greater detail at the time of your next office visit. You may go home the same day or spend the night in the hospital. Follow these tips:
- You can return to a normal routine and diet the day after the ERCP.
- If a cut was made in the duct, avoid blood-thinning medications such as aspirin for 5-7 days.
- Call your doctor right away if you have fever or abdominal pain. They may be signs of a developing infection.