ERCP (Endoscopic Retrograde Cholangio-Pancreatography) is a procedure that helps visualize the internal structure of the duodenum.
The full form of ERCP is endoscopic retrograde cholangio-pancreatography. It is a procedure that determines and helps us scan and visualize the internal structure of the duodenum. It is performed by inserting the duodenoscope (having the camera and light source on a pen like flexible tube) through the mouth.
The duodenoscope passes through the stomach and enter the duodenum, where it is used to determine the structure of the opening of the bile duct and the pancreatic ducts. A plastic catheter is then passed into the bile ducts and pancreatic ducts and the contrast agent is suitably injected to these parts. X—ray imaging of the highlighted portions is then recorded for clear understanding of the internal structure.
ERCP is not a surgery but has been used in conjunction with endoscopic or laparoscopic surgery wherein the target bile obstruction or tissue has to be removed. The removal is done using electric heat or metal tubing that removes the obstruction. ERCP is also used in conjunction with biopsies.
The basic technology used in ERCP is the same in all processes. The targeted organs may differ in different types of ERCP. These are duodenoscopy (imaging the duodenum, bile ducts, gall bladder and surrounding region), colonoscopy (imaging the colon) and pancreatography (imaging the pancreas and pancreatic ducts).