Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP)
An endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP) test checks the tubes (ducts) that drain the liver , gallbladder , and pancreas . A flexible, lighted scope (endoscope) and X-ray pictures are used.
The scope is put through the mouth and gently moved down the throat. It goes into your esophagus , stomach, and duodenum until it reaches the point where the ducts from the pancreas and gallbladder drain into the duodenum. X-rays will then be taken.
ERCP can treat certain problems found during the test. In some cases, your doctor can insert small tools through the scope to:
- Take a sample of tissue (biopsy) from an abnormal growth. Then it can be checked for problems.
- Remove a gallstone in the common bile duct.
- Open a narrowed bile duct. A narrowed bile duct can be opened by inserting a small wire-mesh or plastic tube (called a stent) in the duct.
Why It Is Done
ERCP is done to:
- Check lasting belly pain or jaundice.
- Find gallstones or diseases of the liver, bile ducts, or pancreas.
- Remove gallstones from the common bile duct if they are causing problems. These may include a blockage (obstruction), inflammation or infection of the common bile duct (cholangitis), or pancreatitis.
- Open a narrowed bile duct or insert a drain.
- Get a tissue sample for further testing (biopsy).
- Measure the pressure inside the bile ducts (manometry).