Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

ERCP, also known as endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, is a procedure that is used to examine the bile ducts and pancreatic ducts. In this procedure, our El Paso gastroenterologist uses an endoscope (a flexible tube that has a light on the end) to examine the bile ducts for abnormalities. The tube is inserted through your mouth, then into the stomach, and into the top section of your small intestine. We then inject a special dye and take X-Rays so that we can understand and better evaluate your pancreas and liver ducts. At GastroCare of El Paso, we can perform ERCP in our office.

When is an ERCP Performed?

This procedure is used for a number of different reasons, including diagnosing and identifying the need for specific treatment of symptoms and diseases affecting the gallbladder, liver, and pancreas. It can be used to check for cirrhosis of the liver, certain kinds of cancer, jaundice, abdominal pains, as well as locating and removing gallstones that have collected in the bile duct.

ECRP is used most often when a gastroenterologist suspects that bile in the ducts is blocked by the following:

  • Infection
  • Tumor
  • Sclerosis
  • Inflammation
  • Gallstones
  • Build-up

Valuable Diagnosis & Treatment Tool

If a biopsy is necessary, ECRP can be used to obtain samples of abnormal tissues to help diagnose any structural abnormalities. In cases where our GI doctor suspects that surgery is necessary, ERCP may be used to determine whether or not that is the case. This procedure takes about 30 to 90 minutes and you may need to stay for a few hours after the procedure, as you will be given medicine in an IV line to help maximize your comfort.

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