Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreatography – ERCP

The Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreatography (ERCP) test is performed to treat patients with Jaundice, which has usually occurred as a result of a blockage or obstruction of the bile duct.

The patient is required to be sedated during an ERCP, which is performed under x-ray control. It utilises a specialised side-viewing fibre-optic video camera, which can examine the stomach and duodenum but has the added advantage of locating the ‘papilla’, which allows access to the main bile duct.

Any one of the possible causes of bile duct obstruction can then be treated either by simple stone extraction or by the placement of a plastic stent if the cause is a possible malignant stricture (in some patients a metal stent is used). At this time cells can also be obtained especially if a malignancy is suspected.

ERCP does carry a small risk of developing pancreatitis and bleeding and is performed by a Specialist Gastroenterologist.

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