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Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio Pancreatography (ERCP)

  • What is Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio Pancreatography (ERCP)?

    ERCP is a procedure used to visualise the bile duct and pancreas by producing detailed x-ray images. It uses a very long and flexible tube called an endoscope.

    The endoscope is inserted through the mouth and carefully pushed down into the stomach and round into the first part of the small intestine (the duodenum). The endoscope is then used to find the opening of the bile duct that empties into the duodenum. This opening is called a papilla. A small plastic tube is then passed down the endoscope through the papilla to reach the bile duct and the pancreatic duct. A small amount of dye is then injected into the ducts to allow x-ray images to be captured.


  • The doctor may recommend an ERCP to assess and treat symptoms and conditions. Symptoms may include jaundice (yellowing of the skin and eyes) and upper-abdominal pain. It is also used if the doctor suspects the presence of bile duct stones, tumours in the bile duct, liver or pancreas, and if the bile duct or the pancreatic duct is blocked. ERCP is also used before and after gall bladder surgery to improve the surgical procedure.

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