Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)

Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a technique that uses an endoscope and X-ray to examine the bile and pancreatic ducts.

The functions of the common bile duct and the pancreatic duct are to drain the gallbladder, liver, and pancreas; the two main ducts drain the bile and the pancreatic juice to the small bowel. The most common reason why someone would need an ERCP is because of a blockage of one of these ducts (often due to gallstones).

The gastroenterologist will examine the bile and/or pancreatic ducts, looking for abnormalities such as blockages, irregularity in the tissue, problems with the flow of bile or pancreatic fluid, stones, or sometimes tumors. If a problem is found, the gastroenterologist can often perform a procedure to repair or improve the condition.

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