ERCP (endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography) is a procedure that uses a slim, flexible, lighted tube called an endoscope to examine the ducts that drain fluid from your child’s liver, gallbladder, and pancreas.
The liver makes bile that helps your child’s body break down the fat in food, and ducts carry bile to the gallbladder. The gallbladder is a small sac under the liver on the right side of the body that stores bile. The bile duct carries bile to the small intestine. The pancreas makes fluid that helps break down food. A duct carries digestive fluids from the pancreas to the upper part of the small intestine.
When your child’s healthcare provider has done other tests to diagnose a problem in the gallbladder or bile or pancreas ducts, an ERCP exam may be done to confirm the diagnosis and treat the problem. ERCP may be used to:
The procedure may be done in an outpatient clinic or hospital.
Your child will be given medicine called anesthesia to keep him from feeling pain during the procedure.
The healthcare provider will insert a scope into your child’s mouth, down the throat, and through the stomach and small intestine until it reaches the point where the bile duct and pancreatic duct drain into the small intestine. The healthcare provider will inject contrast dye through the scope into the ducts. This makes the ducts show up clearly on X-rays.
Tools are passed through the scope and used to treat problems found during the exam. Tissue samples may be taken for testing in the lab. A small tube may be placed in a duct.
The procedure takes 30 minutes to 2 hours.
Your child will need to stay at the clinic or hospital for 1 to 2 hours after the procedure. If any kind of treatment is done during ERCP, such as removing a gallstone, your child may need to stay in the hospital overnight.
Follow your healthcare provider's instructions. Ask your healthcare provider:
Make sure you know when your child should come back for a checkup. Keep all appointments for provider visits or tests.
Every procedure or treatment has risks. Some possible risks of this procedure include:
Ask your healthcare provider how these risks apply to your child. Be sure to discuss any other questions or concerns that you may have.