Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography

A combined endoscopic and X-ray technique used to diagnose and treat a range of pancreatic and bile duct problems


An ERCP is used to examine the pancreas and bile ducts. The pancreas and bile ducts form part of the digestive system. The bile ducts carry bile, a substance that digests fat, from the liver and gallbladder to the small intestine. The pancreas produces substances that regulate blood sugar and help digest food. During an ERCP, a tiny camera on the end of a narrow, flexible tube (an endoscope) is passed through the mouth and into the small intestine to see the pancreas and bile ducts. Images are fed back to a computer for a consultant to analyse. An X-ray is taken at the same time to look for blockages such as tumours or gallstones. It's possible to have gallstones removed or a stent put in place to open narrow bile ducts as part of the same procedure.

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This content is intended for general information only and does not replace the need for personal advice from a qualified health professional.
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