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ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography)

ERCP is a technique that is used to study ducts of the pancreas, gallbladder and liver. This is usually done to detect and remove stones, check for injuries, etc.


The various reasons why an ERCP would be suggested by a Doctor include:

  • Bile duct stones
  • Bile duct injury
  • Bialduct strictures due to tumor or scarring
  • Postcholecystectomy syndrome
  • Some cases of pancreatitis
  • Replacement of an obstructed ampullary stent

The following may be performed during an ERCP:

  • Biliary duct stone extraction or lithotripsy
  • Placement of stent
  • Endoscopic sphincterotomy of the sphincter of Oddi
  • Pancreas divisum
  • Ampullary balloon dilatation
  • Nasobiliary tube drainage


It is required that the patient fasts atleast 6 hours prior to the examination. This is done by passing a thin flexible tube called an endoscope into the esophagus and stomach into the duodenum. A catheter is then passed through the endoscope into the ducts. A dye is then injected into the ducts and xrays are taken.


ERCP is generally a well-tolerated procedure when performed by physicians who have had special training and experience in this technique. There may be a Localized irritation of the vein into which medications were given. This can cause tender lump that may last for several weeks. The application of heat packs or hot moist towels to the area can help ease the discomfort.

Other complications include:

  • Pancreatitis
  • Bleeding
  • Bowel perforation.

Usually these complications can be managed without surgery, but occasionally they do require corrective surgery.


The patient will be kept under observation to check for any signs of complications that may require a longer stay at the hospital.

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