Endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is a specialized technique used to study the ducts, or drainage channels, of the gallbladder, liver and pancreas. It is most commonly performed to remove gallstones that have passed from the gallbladder and become lodged within the bile duct. If a blockage has occurred from a growth within the bile duct or pancreas, patients may present with jaundice (yellowing of the skin) and require ERCP to alleviate the jaundice.
ERCP involves the doctor passing a flexible tube (endoscope) through your mouth, esophagus, and stomach into the first portion of the small intestine. The doctor then guides a narrow plastic tube through the endoscope and into the ducts. Contrast dye is injected and X-rays are taken. Patients prepare by being NPO (nothing by mouth) for 6-8 hours prior. They often receive antibiotics prior the test, and are then sedated. Dr. Khaghan and Dr. Schamberg have received specialized training in ERCP and perform this procedure routinely at Greenwich Hospital. Not all gastroenterologists can perform ERCP secondary to the extra training required to master the procedure, several other local and regional GI doctors and surgeons refer their patients to our doctors to perform ERCP.