Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a procedure that helps your doctor identify problems with your bile ducts, liver, or pancreas. At the offices in Baytown, North Loop, Houston, and Humble, Texas, GI Specialists of Houston’s expert gastroenterologists use ERCP to evaluate these organs and perform procedures like gallstone removal. To learn more about ERCP and its role in diagnosis and treatment, call GI Specialists of Houston or book an appointment online today.
The GI Specialists of Houston team uses endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) to evaluate and treat conditions affecting the pancreas, liver, and bile ducts in your abdomen.
To perform ERCP, your gastroenterologist passes an endoscope (a slim and bendable tube fitted with a tiny light and camera) into your throat and down your esophagus. The endoscope can reach the duodenum — the first part of your small intestine.
Next, your provider guides another tube through the endoscope and injects dye into the organs so they can see the bile and pancreatic ducts in your small intestine. Bile ducts deliver bile to your small intestine, helping to digest fat in your food. The pancreatic ducts transport enzymes that your digestive system needs to break down carbohydrates, fats, and protein.
The GI Specialists of Houston team performs ERCP if you have symptoms, like jaundice (yellowing skin and/or the whites of your eyes), that indicate you have a condition affecting the bile ducts, liver, or pancreas.
ERCP is useful for diagnosing and treating bile or pancreatic duct stones and gallbladder, liver, and pancreatic tumors.
Before ERCP, the GI Specialists of Houston team performs a physical exam and runs lab tests to assess your general health. You may have to follow a special diet for several days and stop eating and drinking eight hours before your ERCP.
To keep you pain-free and relaxed, you have an intravenous (IV) line in your arm that delivers a sedative and an anesthetic. Your provider may also spray the back of your throat with a numbing agent before inserting the endoscope.
The endoscope goes into your mouth to your small intestine. Your provider guides the endoscope towards your bile and pancreatic ducts and injects a contrast dye. They take X-rays of places where the contrast dye highlights any abnormalities.
When needed, the GI Specialists of Houston team performs procedures, such as taking tissue samples and removing gallstones. ERCP procedures take between 30 and 60 minutes. Afterward, you go to the recovery room while the sedative wears off. Then you can go home.
To learn more about endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography and its role in your diagnosis and treatment, call GI Specialists of Houston today or book an appointment online.