Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography Specialist

Advanced GI LLC

Gastroenterology located in Chicago, IL

If you have abdominal pain, jaundice, or other unexplained symptoms, an endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP) is an important diagnostic test. Experienced gastroenterologists Michael Flicker, MD, and Carl Atallah, DO, often perform this test to diagnose illness, evaluate diseases like pancreatitis, and even treat obstructions like gallstones at Advanced GI LLC. To schedule your appointment, call the office in the Lake View area of Chicago, Illinois, or book online.

Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangiopancreatography Q&A

What is endoscopic retrograde cholangiopancreatography (ERCP)? 

ERCP is a hybrid procedure that gastroenterologists use to diagnose and treat issues within your bile ducts, gallbladder, and pancreatic ducts. This procedure includes X-rays and upper gastrointestinal endoscopy. 

When do I need ERCP? 

If you have any of the following issues, your doctor may recommend ERCP for diagnosis, treatment, or both.

  • Abdominal pain
  • Acute pancreatitis
  • Jaundice
  • Gallstones
  • Bile or pancreatic duct tumors
  • Bile or pancreatic duct scarring

Your Advanced GI LLC gastroenterologist may diagnose and treat the problem during the same ERCP procedure. 

What is the ERCP process?

In this procedure, you'll lie on your left side. Your doctor passes an endoscope, a thin tube with a tiny attached camera, down your throat to reach the area where your bile and pancreatic ducts open into your small intestine. 

With the endoscope in that position, you'll move to a face-down position. Your gastroenterologist inserts a catheter into the endoscope and then injects a special dye that helps the ducts appear clearly in an X-ray. 

If the X-rays show a problem, your gastroenterologist can immediately thread instruments into the endoscope to remove tumors, strictures, gallstones, or other issues. Your doctor may also place a stent to keep a narrowed area open or remove a tissue sample for biopsy.

The ERCP procedure takes around 30-60 minutes. If you need a tumor or stone removal, stricture repair, or biopsy, the procedure may take up to 60 minutes.

How do I get ready for an ERCP?

Before an ERCP, you need to fast for a minimum of eight hours, based on when you have the procedure. You may drink clear liquids until three hours before your scheduled ERCP. 

Arrange for a loved one to take you to your appointment and then drive you home afterward, as you'll receive a sedative and can't drive yourself.

What is ERCP recovery like?

ERCP is typically an outpatient procedure, although, in rare instances, you might need to spend one night in the hospital. Following your procedure, rest at home for the remainder of the day. 

The endoscope can cause a mild sore throat for a couple of days, but it fades soon after. You can return to your regular diet whenever you’re comfortable doing so. Most patients can return to work the next day. 

If you need answers or treatment for gallbladder and duct issues, trust the Chicago area’s best gastroenterology team at Advanced GI LLC. Book an appointment online or by phone.