What is an ERCP?

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is an examination of the tubes draining the liver and pancreas (bile and pancreatic ducts). The procedure is performed using a combination of endoscopy (using a telescope-like instrument with a tiny camera attached to the end) and x-rays.

The scope is passed gently down your oesophagus and stomach and into the first part of the intestine; the opening into the bile and pancreatic ducts is identified and a thin plastic tube is inserted into one or both ducts. Opaque dye is then injected into the duct and x-rays taken. ERCP is also used to remove bile duct stones or relieve bile duct blockage. The examination can take from 20 to 60 minutes and is performed while you are under deep sedation.