2016-06-16 18:07:19 UTC

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) 101: What is ERCP?

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  • ERCP stands for:
    • Endoscopic — Refers to a tool called an endoscope, a long, thin (about the width of your little finger), flexible tube with a camera on the end. 
    • Retrograde — Refers to the direction (backward) in which the endoscope injects a liquid for X-rays of parts of the GI tract called the bile duct system and pancreas.
    • Cholangio — Refers to the bile duct system.
    • Pancreatography — Refers to the pancreas.
      • The process of taking these X-rays is known as cholangiopancreatography. 
  • ERCP can help find the cause of jaundice (when your skin and/or the whites of your eyes turn yellow) or pancreatitis, which is inflammation (swelling and redness) of the pancreas that is often caused by gallstones or alcohol abuse. ERCP can also treat some of those issues.
  • Using tools passed through the endoscopic tube, your doctor can inject dye to light up organs under X-rays. This provides a clear view of your pancreas, pancreatic duct, bile duct system, gallbladder and duodenum (the first portion of the small intestine).

 

© AGA, September 2017

©AGA, July 2016

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