Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a long word, but a short procedure. An ERCP allows GI doctors to diagnose, biopsy, and treat problems in the bile ducts, liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.
The board-certified, fellowship-trained gastroenterologists at Saddleback Medical Group Gastroenterology have advanced training and expertise in performing ERCPs. This procedure is carried out at the Digestive Care Center in Laguna Hills, California.
Why You May Need an ERCP
An ERCP may be done to investigate the cause of jaundice, abdominal pain, or other symptoms. It is used to identify and treat problems in the bile ducts or pancreas, including:
- Bile duct blockage or narrowing
- Bile duct cancer
- Pancreatic pseudocysts
- Pancreatic cancer
What to Expect
ERCP is a relatively short procedure, but it can provide your doctor with important information about the health of your GI tract. Understanding what to expect before, during, and after the procedure can help ensure your ERCP goes smoothly.
Before the ERCP
If you are scheduled for an ERCP, be sure to ask your doctor any questions you may have about the procedure. It is also important to follow your doctor's instructions on how to prepare for the procedure. The staff at Saddleback Medical Group Gastroenterology has prepared the following instructions and information about ERCP to help you get ready for your procedure:
During the ERCP
ERCP is an outpatient procedure performed under IV sedation. Your GI doctor will begin by threading a thin, flexible tube called an endoscope through your mouth, esophagus, stomach, and then into the main bile duct at the first part of the small intestine. The endoscope has a tiny camera at its tip, which allows your doctor to see inside your digestive tract throughout the procedure.
A special dye is then injected into the area and X-rays are taken to identify any abnormalities. These may include the presence of gallstones, tumors, cysts (fluid-filled cavities), cirrhosis (severe liver disease), as well as narrowed or otherwise obstructed bile ducts.
If gallstones or narrowed bile ducts are found, these issues may be corrected during the ERCP. This is accomplished through a channel in the endoscope through which miniature surgical instruments can be passed. This allows your GI doctor to perform the following during an ERCP:
- Take biopsies (tissue samples)
- Drain or otherwise open blocked bile ducts
- Remove or crush gallstones
Being able to diagnose and treat these problems during the same ERCP procedure eliminates the need for major surgery.
After the ERCP
After an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, you may experience some mild soreness in your throat. You may also experience flatulence as a result of the air used to inflate the stomach and intestinal area. These side effects are normal and should go away within a few days.
ERCP in Laguna Hills, CA
Should you have any questions about ERCPs or about an upcoming ERCP you are scheduled for, contact the caring and knowledgeable GI professionals at Saddleback Medical Group Gastroenterology in Laguna Hills, California, by calling at (949) 770-7163. You can also simply request an appointment now to discuss the matter with one of our providers.