ERCP or Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreatography is a procedure similar to endoscopy with the only difference being that this one is carried out and performed to examine the insides of the pancreas and the bile duct. This procedure is helpful to identify health problems and diagnose them in due time. It is more of aid which can also be carried out alongside other important surgical procedure as an aid to guide and help the doctors make the right decision.
What is ERCP?
The procedure involves guiding a bendable tube from our mouth down to our stomach. The tube is made to reach the first part of small intestine, also called the duodenum. Here ampulla is identified which is a small opening that helps reach out to the pancreas and liver. Once at ampulla, another small plastic tube is passed through the endoscope to inject a dye or a contrasting material into the opening. This material enables the doctors to take images of the ducts and study them thoroughly.
ERCP can be performed for diagnosis, evaluative or analysis purpose. In either case, the procedure has proven to be very beneficial to the surgeons. ERCP has proven its worth in pre and post-operative procedures. It is performed to
- Diagnose the cause of abdominal pain
- Diagnose the condition of liver after jaundice
- Analyse the masses which have been discovered in the region
- Find the reason for increased drainage after a surgery
- Diagnose the tumours in the region and remove them as well using plastic tubes that help pass through the blockages
- Identify the right sort of surgical procedure which should be performed to treat the disease
ERCP is a fairly non-invasive treatment which helps the surgeons make right decisions at the right time regarding the health of their patients. The information which is received through ERCP is way more accurate and detailed than the one obtained by endoscopic ultrasound. It is also used to assist them in surgeries so that they can have a better evaluation of their route and methods. Nowadays, ERCP is being combined with a lot of other techniques and methods to enhance their effectiveness.
The procedure may have its benefits, but it certainly doesn’t come without its own risks. It is important to make sure that this procedure is only carried out by the experts who have the necessary trained needed to carry out the process and handle any complication which might arise from it. Some of the many risks associated with ERCP include:
- Mild pancreatitis which goes away after 3 to 4 days but would require a stay in the hospital
- Allergic reaction to the sedatives
- Perforation in the stomach lining or oesophagus
- Mild infection in the pancreatic or liver ducts
ERCP has made the lives of the patients and the surgeons a lot easier. It allows them to make more informed decisions and adopt better treatment methods for analysis and treatment of various health issues.