Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)
A flexible tube with a camera is placed in the patient's mouth, through the stomach and into the small bowel near the gallbladder and pancreas by a trained physician. The scope diameter is the approximate size of a dime. Sedation is always given to relax the patient and allay any anxiety or fear. The patient is monitored closely during the procedure including routine checks of the blood pressure, heart rhythm, heart rate and respiration. This procedure allows the physician to visualize malignancy of the pancreas, common bile duct , stones or obstructions in this area. It also allows the physician to evaluate acute, recurrent or chronic pancreatitis. This procedure can take anywhere from 30 minutes to 2 hours to perform.
Most often the patient will be asked not to eat or drink anything at least 6 hours prior to the test. Usually the physician asks the patient not to eat or drink after midnight the night prior. Hospital stay is no more than 3 hours from the time of arrival to the Endoscopy Center waiting room until completion of the procedure.