Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopanctreatography is a procedure performed for a variety of reasons. After a patient receives sedation, a small flexible tube is inserted into the mouth and into the small intestine. From there, a catheter is placed into the bile duct and/or pancreatic duct. X-rays will be performed during the test. It normally takes from 30-60 minutes with patients not reporting any pain with this procedure.
Why is an ERCP performed?
An ERCP is usually performed to investigate causes of abdominal pain, abnormal lab results, and/or abnormal x-ray findings. It’s commonly used in patients with stones obstructing the bile duct, which can cause abdominal pain, pancreatitis, and abnormal liver enzymes. ERCP can also be used for the treatment of chronic pancreatitis and to relieve other obstructions in the pancreas or bile duct.
Is there a preparation routine to follow before this procedure?
You should not eat or drink after midnight prior to the test. If you take blood thinners, stop taking these several days before your procedure. Other medications should be taken as usual unless directed otherwise by your doctor.
What about clothing during the exam?
Patients receive a gown to wear during the procedure.
Are there complications with ERCP?
ERCP is a safe procedure; however, as with any surgical or diagnostic procedure, complications can occur. This could include perforation, bleeding and problems with sedation. There’s also a risk of developing pancreatitis. Your doctor is properly trained and qualified to perform ERCP and will be happy to answer your questions about this procedure.
What should I expect after the ERCP?
Most patients are able to resume normal activities after the ERCP. Because sedation is given, we do not recommend making major decisions, operating heavy machinery or driving. You will need a designated driver to bring you to the hospital and take you home after your procedure. Your discharge instructions will include signs and symptoms of possible complications. Please read all information provided to you, call Three Rivers Gastroenterology office with any questions, and return to hospital if any concerns arise.
When will I get the results?
Three Rivers Gastroenterology specialist will discuss preliminary results with you immediately after the procedure. You will also receive handouts with basic information about the findings. If biopsies or other studies are performed as part of your procedure, these often take one to two weeks to return. Three Rivers Gastroenterology can share biopsy results by phone or during your follow-up visit.