ERCP is a procedure that combines upper gastrointestinal (GI) endoscopy and x-rays to treat or diagnose problems of the bile and pancreatic ducts. Our gastroenterologists perform ERCP when your bile or pancreatic ducts have become narrowed or blocked. Often this blockage comes from one or more of the following issues:

What do I need to know for my ERCP?

BEFORE: To ensure the x-ray displays your upper GI tract clearly, your doctor will likely ask you not to eat, drink, smoke, or chew gum 8 hours before ERCP. It’s also important to inform your doctor of any allergies or medical conditions you have and all medicines, vitamins, and supplements you take.

Your doctor will provide full preparation instructions to follow prior to your procedure.

DURING: The ERCP procedure itself usually takes 1-2 hours. Before, you will be given sedative to help you relax, or in some cases, general anesthesia. You may be given a liquid anesthetic to gargle or a spray anesthetic to numb the back of the throat. While you lie on an examination table, your doctor will gently feed the endoscope down your esophagus, through your stomach, and into your duodenum. A small camera mounted on the endoscope will send a video image to a monitor. The endoscope pumps air into your stomach and duodenum, making them easier to see. Your doctor may pass tiny tools through the endoscope to treat or biopsy problem areas.

AFTER: You will rest in the recovery area for a while after while sedation wears off. In some cases, an ERCP patient may require an overnight hospital stay. For a short time after the procedure, it is not uncommon to experience bloating or nausea due to the air inserted during the ERCP. Once your ability to swallow returns to normal, you may resume your normal diet. We recommend you rest at home for the remainder of the day.