What you need to know about ERCP Procedure
Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a procedure to diagnose and treat problems of the bile and pancreatic duct by combining upper gastrointestinal endoscopy and X-rays. For diagnostic purposes, the procedure is performed to find the cause of obstructive jaundice, chronic pancreatitis, and pancreatic tumor. For therapeutic purposes, the procedure can be performed to extract gallstones or other biliary debris, to treat the sphincter of Oddi (endoscopic sphincterotomy), to insert a stent into the common bile duct and/or the pancreatic duct, and to dilate the strictures.
What Does the Procedure Involve?
Most of ERCP are carried out under local anesthetic, but in some cases, you may receive a general anesthetic. Your doctor inserts the endoscope (a long flexible tube with light and camera on its end) through your mouth and down to the esophagus, stomach, and the first part of the small intestine. Then, your doctor passes a tube through the endoscope and injects a dye, which will highlight the organ on the X-ray.
How Long Should You Stay in the Country?
You can leave the hospital on the same day of the procedure or you may need to stay overnight. You’ll likely discuss the result of the diagnosis once you regained consciousness or the next day of the procedure. Plan to stay in the area for 2 to 3 days to allow for a recovery period.
How Long is the Recovery Time?
You must rest for at least 24 hours and you should be able to resume your normal activities the next day after the surgery, but make sure to take things easy for a couple of days.
What Aftercare Should You Consider?
You will need to avoid strenuous activities for several days and follow a special diet during your recovery period. Your doctor will give you instructions on how to care for yourself after the procedure.
What is the Success Rate for ERCP Procedure?
ECRP is safe and effective. However, it has been estimated that the procedure carries around 3.5 to 5 percent risk of post-ERCP pancreatitis (PEP). Other side effects and risks associated with ECRP include infection of the gallbladder or the bile duct, excessive bleeding (hemorrhage), perforation in the pancreatic or bile ducts, tissue damage from X-ray exposure, and an abnormal reaction to the sedative. Complications occur in about 5 to 10 percent of all ERCP procedures.
Are there Alternatives to ERCP Procedure?
If ERCP is not the right procedure for you, your alternatives include endoscopic ultrasound, CT Scan, and MRI or MRCP (a special MRI of the bile ducts).
What Should You Expect Before and After the Procedure?
The result of ERCP will help your doctor confirm their diagnosis about your health problem, which will help them consider the best treatment option for you.
For an in-depth analysis of an Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) Procedure, watch this short video.
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