ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography)

This procedure may be used to take an x-ray image of the pancreatic duct and bile duct. It can also be used to unblock the bile duct if necessary.

A thin flexible tube (an endoscope) is passed via the mouth down into the stomach and into the duodenum.  This enables the doctor to look down the endoscope to find the opening through which the bile duct and pancreatic duct drain into the duodenum. A dye which shows up on x-ray, may then be injected into these ducts which will help to show if there is any abnormality or blockage in the ducts.  If there is a blockage a stent (a small tube) may then be inserted.

A relaxing sedative and a local anaesthetic spray to numb the throat is given before this procedure, as well as antibiotics to help prevent any infection. An overnight stay in hospital is usual.

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