Centers for Gastroenterology in Northern Colorado is proud to offer professional ERCP services to our patients. ERCP, or endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, is a specialized procedure that our team of expert gastroenterologists is highly trained to perform. This minimally invasive procedure is used to both diagnose and treat certain conditions of the bile ducts, pancreas, and gallbladder.
What is ERCP?
Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography, or ERCP, is a specialized technique used to study the bile ducts, pancreatic ducts, and gallbladder. Ducts are drainage routes. The drainage channels from the liver are called bile or biliary ducts. The pancreatic duct is the drainage channel from the pancreas. An ERCP procedure in Northern Colorado can help you catch certain forms of cancer and other abnormalities before they progress.
How is ERCP Performed?
During ERCP, your doctor will pass an endoscope through your mouth, esophagus, and stomach into the duodenum (the first part of the small intestine). An endoscope is a thin, flexible tube that lets your doctor see inside your bowels. After your doctor sees the common opening to the ducts from the liver and pancreas, called the major duodenal papilla, your doctor will pass a narrow plastic tube called a catheter through the endoscope and into the ducts. Your doctor will inject a contrast material (dye) into the pancreatic or biliary ducts and will take X-rays.
You should fast for at least six hours (and preferably overnight) before the procedure to make sure you have an empty stomach, which is necessary for the best examination. Your doctor will give you precise instructions about how to prepare. You should talk to your doctor about medications you take regularly and any allergies you have to medications or to intravenous contrast material (dye).
Although an allergy doesn’t prevent you from having ERCP, it’s important to discuss it with your doctor prior to the procedure, as you may require specific allergy medications. Inform your doctor about medications you’re taking, particularly aspirin products, arthritis medications, anticoagulants (blood thinners, such as warfarin or heparin), clopidogrel, or insulin. Also, be sure to tell your doctor if you have heart or lung conditions or other major diseases which might prevent or impact an endoscopy.
Your doctor might apply a local anesthetic to your throat and/or give you a sedative to make you more comfortable. Your doctor might ask an anesthesiologist to administer sedation if your procedure is complex or lengthy. Some patients also receive antibiotics before the procedure. You will lie on your abdomen on an X-ray table. The instrument does not interfere with breathing, but you might feel a bloating sensation.
The Importance of ERCP
Why is ERCP so important? It is often the only way to directly visualize the bile ducts, pancreatic ducts, and gallbladder. X-rays, ultrasounds, and CT scans can show certain abnormalities in these organs, but they cannot always show what is causing the problem. ERCP allows your doctor to see inside these ducts and determine the cause of the issue.
Why Choose Centers for Gastroenterology?
Centers for Gastroenterology has been committed to providing high-quality digestive care for more than 40 years. Our seasoned gastroenterologists are experienced in all aspects of gastroenterology, including ERCP. With our convenient locations in Northern Colorado, we offer state-of-the-art facilities and equipment along with a caring and professional staff. You can be assured you are receiving the best possible care when you choose Centers for Gastroenterology.
Contact Centers for Gastroenterology Today
If you need an ERCP procedure, or if you have any questions about our services, please contact us today. One of our helpful staff members will be happy to answer your questions or schedule an appointment for you.