ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography)
ERCP is used primarily to diagnose and treat conditions of the bile ducts and pancreas. ERCP combines the use of x-rays and an endoscope, which is a long, flexible, lighted tube. Through the endoscope, the physician can see the inside of the stomach and duodenum, and inject dyes into the ducts in the biliary tree and pancreas so they can be seen on x-rays.
A scope is guided through your esophagus, stomach and duodenum until it reaches the spot where the ducts of the biliary tree and pancreas open into the duodenum. A small plastic tube is passed through the scope and used to inject a dye into the ducts to make them show up clearly on x-rays. X-rays are taken as soon as the dye is injected. At the Elkins Pancreas Center, gastroenterologists have special equipment and the ability to pass a tiny endoscope through the standard size endoscope. The tiny endoscope can be advanced into the bile duct or pancreatic duct to directly visualize a narrowing or blockage. If the exam shows narrowing of the ducts, biopsies can be taken and a stent can be placed to temporarily relieve the obstruction.