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ERCP - Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography: The ERCP is an X-ray of the pancreatic ducts and biliary tree, which provide enzymes used in digestion. The test is used to look for stones or tumors in the ducts, a narrowing of the ducts, or cancer.

This test is usually done in the hospital. Your throat is sprayed with a local anesthetic. A sedative and pain killer are given through a vein. A special flexible tube (endoscope) is inserted through your mouth into the duodenum (the portion of the small intestine that is closest to the stomach).

A catheter is advanced through the endoscope and inserted into the pancreatic or biliary ducts. A contrast agent is injected into these ducts and X-rays are taken to evaluate their caliber, length and course. Narrowing, stones, and tumors can be identified. Special instruments can be placed through the scope and into the ducts to open the entry of the ducts into the bowel, stretch out narrow segments, remove or crush stones, take tissue samples, and drain obstructed areas.

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is an endoscopic procedure used to identify the presence of stones, tumors, or narrowing in the biliary and pancreatic ducts. After the endoscope is properly placed, a catheter is advanced which will inject a contrast agent through the ducts. The contrast is visible on X-rays, and allows a physician to evaluate the caliber, length and course of the ducts. An ERCP may be performed if a patient experiences symptoms such as jaundice, abdominal pain, fever, or malabsorption.

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