Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreatography (ERCP)

What is ERCP?

ERCP is a special technique used to study the gall bladder, bile ducts, and pancreatic duct and gallbladder.

How is ERCP performed?

During ERCP, your specialist will pass an gastroscope (a thin tube with an inbuilt video camera) through your mouth, oesophagus and stomach, and then into the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine).

After the common opening to the ducts from the liver and pancreas, known as the major duodenal papilla, is seen, the specialist passes a narrow plastic catheter into the ducts. Contrast material (dye) is then injected into the pancreatic or biliary ducts and X-rays are taken.

What is the purpose of doing an ERCP?

ERCP is frequently diagnostic, for example it sometimes is used to diagnose chronic pancreatitis.

It is also the preferred procedure to remove stones from the bile duct.

What are possible complications of ERCP?

ERCP is generally well-tolerated procedure when performed by specialists with a high level of training and experience, such as those at PIMS.

Complications, whilst uncommon, can include infection, pancreatitis, infections, bowel perforation and bleeding. Some patients can have a reaction to the sedation used.

What happens after an ERCP?

You will be observed for several hours for complications. Some patients experience bloating or pass gas because of the air introduced during the study.



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