Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)


Definition - What does Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) mean?

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, or ERC, is a medical procedure executed by a specialist, typically a gastroenterologist, using endoscopic and fluoroscopic equipment to diagnose and treat problems connected with the pancreatic and bile ducts, which empty liquid bile from the liver into the duodenum (upper small intestine) to assist digestion. ERC involves the insertion of a thin flexible tube (endoscope), catheter hose, and a camera attachment transmitting visual feedback to a monitor allowing the doctor to observe and navigate the tissue canals and surrounding organs with care and facility. Doctors employ this method to identify conditions such as, gallstones, pancreatitis (inflammation of pancreas), bile duct blockage(s), and tumors that pose health risks to patients.

WorkplaceTesting explains Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, or ERC, is routinely used to inspect the physiological function of the bile and pancreatic ducts. Doctors use this method to check for abnormalities such as gallstones, pancreatitis (inflammation of the pancreas), and malignant cysts and/or tumors along the lumen (inner walls) of the bile and gallbladder canals because it is only moderately invasive but returns a large amount of solid information. After a patient is given anesthesia, the process uses a thin, flexible tube (endoscope), fitted with a catheter hose used to inject a contrast dye for observing and for maneuvering tissue organs safely while the doctors watch live video feed via a fiber-optic camera connection that transmits visual feedback to a computer monitor.

The endoscope is then inserted into the mouth, passing down the esophagus, into the stomach, and finally terminating at the point where the bile and pancreatic ducts drain their contents into the duodenum. Doctors may also use ERC to obtain a biopsy (tissue sample) for further test analyses or implanting stents designed to widen a closed or narrowed duct. Because incisions are not needed, this type of procedure is much less stressful on the patient's body than traditional surgery.

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