An endoscopic retrograde
cholangiopancreatogram (ERCP) is a test that combines the use of a flexible,
lighted scope (endoscope) with X-ray pictures to examine the tubes
that drain the
Your doctor may be able to
discuss some of the findings with you immediately after the test. But the
medicines used to relax you for an ERCP may impair your memory. So your doctor
may tell you to call the next day for your results.
An imaging test, a magnetic
resonance cholangiopancreatogram (MRCP), can be used to view the bile ducts and
to diagnose medical conditions. MRCP doesn't allow biopsies or treatments to be
done during the test.
Another test, endoscopic ultrasound (EUS),
uses a small
ultrasound probe at the end of the endoscope and may
offer a more detailed view of parts of the digestive tract than ERCP. EUS also
allows the doctor to see certain organs of the body adjacent to the digestive
tract, such as the pancreas and bile ducts. EUS may help diagnose noncancerous
(benign) or cancerous (malignant) tumors of the esophagus, stomach, pancreas,
and bile ducts.
If your doctor removes a gallstone or places a
stent during your ERCP, you may need to stay in the hospital
Because air is used during ERCP to open the bile and
pancreatic ducts, you may feel bloated and notice a temporary change in your
bowel habits. Notify your doctor if you experience bleeding from the rectum or
your stools look black or bloody.
Depending on the ERCP results,
you may need other tests, such as angiography or laparoscopy, to confirm a
diagnosis. Surgery may be needed to treat a problem found with ERCP.