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What  ERCP Entails

Did you know millions of individuals suffer from digestive issues, including bloating, constipation, diarrhea, and more? Usually, we don’t take our digestive system seriously until something happens. Not knowing our overall health entirely depends on it. Ensure to seek medical attention for any gut problems to restore your health. Accurate diagnosis is critical when treating digestive problems. That’s why the ERCP Anchorage specialists at Pioneer GI Clinic offer exceptional care by providing comprehensive diagnoses and treatments. This post will explain what ERCP means and involves.

What is an ERCP procedure?

Almost everyone has had a digestive problem in their life. Some of these digestive issues include pancreatic and bile problems. Your provider uses ERCP to confirm and treat pancreatic and bile duct issues.

ERCP, or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, is a medical procedure that doctors use to diagnose and treat problems in the bile and pancreatic ducts. It includes the gallbladder, liver, and pancreas. The procedure combines endoscopy and X-rays.

Endoscopy is a procedure where your provider inserts a long tube with special tools and a camera into your digestive tract.

Usually, your provider suggests ERCP when you have symptoms such as sudden abdominal pain or jaundice. These problems may indicate a blockage or a tumor within your ducts.

When do you need ERCP?

Your provider uses ERCP to diagnose and treat bile duct problems. They may also use ultrasound or magnetic resonance cholangiography. Unlike other diagnostic tests, ERCP has a high risk of complications.

Your provider, therefore, only recommends ERCP when they hope to diagnose and treat the problem at the same time.

Typically, the pancreatic and bile ducts connect from the gallbladder and pancreas to the duodenum, the upper part of your small intestines. Your provider only suggests ERCP if they detect the ducts has a blockage. Various conditions may cause blockage of the ducts, such as gallstones, pancreatic cancer, an infection, pancreatitis, or a surgical complication.

What does the ERCP involve?

A general surgeon or a gastroenterologist performs the procedure. Before the ERCP appointment, your provider advises not eating or drinking for about 6 hours. They also discuss with you what to expect during and after the procedure.

ERCP occurs under anesthesia and takes about 1 to 2 hours. Your provider inserts the endoscope through the mouth up to the small intestines. They then locate the part where the bile and pancreatic duct join.

Your surgeon inserts a catheter through the endoscope into the ducts. Then they insert a contrast dye to make the ducts visible on fluoroscopy. If they find a problem, they provide treatment through endoscopy.

You may experience bloating or nausea after the procedure, which wears off after a short time.

What complications may you get from ERCP?

ERCP has a significant risk of complications, including excessive bleeding, pancreatitis, tissue damage, infections, and perforation of the ducts or small intestines. Seek emergency medical attention if you encounter fever, breathing issues, vomiting, severe abdominal pain, or blood in your stool after the ERCP procedure.

ERCP is effective for diagnosing and treating bile and pancreatic duct problems at the same time. Contact Pioneer GI Clinic today to schedule your consultation and learn when you might need ERCP.