Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP)
An endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP) is a test that combines the use of a flexible, lighted scope (Reference endoscope Opens New Window) with X-ray pictures to examine the tubes that drain the Reference liver Opens New Window, Reference gallbladder Opens New Window, and Reference pancreas Opens New Window.
The endoscope is inserted through the mouth and gently moved down the throat into the Reference esophagus Opens New Window, stomach, and Reference duodenum Opens New Window until it reaches the point where the ducts from the pancreas (pancreatic ducts) and gallbladder (bile ducts) drain into the duodenum.
ERCP can treat certain problems found during the test. If an abnormal growth is seen, an instrument can be inserted through the endoscope to obtain a sample of the tissue for further testing (Reference biopsy Opens New Window). If a gallstone is present in the Reference common bile duct Opens New Window, the doctor can sometimes remove the stone with instruments inserted through the endoscope. A narrowed bile duct can be opened by inserting a small wire-mesh or plastic tube (called a stent) through the endoscope and into the duct.
|By:||Reference Healthwise Staff||Last Revised: Reference April 8, 2011|
|Medical Review:||Reference E. Gregory Thompson, MD - Internal Medicine
Reference Jerome B. Simon, MD, FRCPC, FACP - Gastroenterology