Description of the Procedure
You will lie on your stomach with your head turned to the right. A mouthpiece will be placed in your mouth to help keep it open. An assistant will be in the room to monitor your breathing and heart rate. Your doctor will put an endoscope into your mouth. The scope will be slowly passed through your throat into your esophagus, stomach, and/or small intestine. Air will be passed through the scope to open the airway to see better.
Your doctor will watch the images on a video monitor. The scope will be passed into the place where the ducts from the liver and pancreas open into the small intestine.
A tiny tube from the endoscope will then be passed into the opening of the bile and pancreatic ducts. Through this tube, your doctor will inject a contrast material. The contrast will make the ducts visible on the x-ray machine. If a gallstone shows up on the images, your doctor may attempt to remove it through the scope. Scarring or narrowing within the ducts can also be treated with instruments passed through the scope. Tissue samples may also be taken through the scope for biopsy. The sample will be sent to a lab for further testing.
Will It Hurt?
During the procedure, you may feel discomfort in your throat. After the procedure, your throat may be sore for a few days. In addition, you may feel bloated and need to belch.
Average Hospital Stay
If the ERCP is only diagnostic, you may go home the same day. However, if you have other procedures done through the scope, you may need to stay in the hospital overnight.