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Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP)

How To Prepare

Follow the instructions exactly about when to stop eating and drinking, or your test may be canceled. If your doctor has instructed you to take your medicines on the day of the test, please do so using only a sip of water.

If your doctor prescribed antibiotics before the test, take them as directed. You need to take the full course of antibiotics.

Tell your doctor if you:

Talk to your doctor about any concerns you have regarding the need for the test, its risks, how it will be done, or what the results will mean. To help you understand the importance of this test, fill out the medical test information form(What is a PDF document?).

You will be asked to empty your bladder and remove any dentures, jewelry, or contact lenses before having an ERCP.

How It Is Done

An endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP) is done by a doctor trained in endoscopy, usually a doctor who specializes in diseases of the digestive system (gastroenterologist). A thin, flexible fiber-optic endoscope is used.

ERCP is done in the hospital. You may have to stay overnight if your doctor removes gallstones or places a stent during the test. Otherwise, you will be allowed to go home after the test.

An ERCP usually takes between 30 and 60 minutes. You will be in the recovery room 1 to 2 hours.

Your throat may be numbed with an anesthetic spray, gargle, or lozenge to relax your gag reflex and make it easier to insert the endoscope. Shortly before the test begins, an intravenous (IV) line will be placed in a vein in your arm. You will be given pain medicine and a sedative through the IV during the test. You may also be given an antibiotic through the IV.

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WebMD Medical Reference from Healthwise

Last Updated: March 08, 2013
This information is not intended to replace the advice of a doctor. Healthwise disclaims any liability for the decisions you make based on this information.

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